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11-11-2013, 03:35 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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My first impressions, for what they are worth.

Well, it's here finally, and its just a WOW! of a bit of kit. I really thought it was going to be hard to top my beloved K-5, but I'm smitten.

I think most of the most important observations have already been made, but I have not seen anyone speak to the subtle difference in finish to the previous iteration bodies. (disclaimer, Ive not held a K-5 ii) The K-3 and matching grip has a more 'matt' finish compared to the K-5/7's finish which I'd describe as 'satin' in comparison. It's very nice, very classy, very black.

Some other observations which you will read elsewhere in differing language -

The autofocus has a confidence about it (dare I say a swagger?), it rarely hunts, it just says 'the focus point is here boss, whaddyawaitinfor? press the blessed shutter button'. No experiments with planes, trains or automobiles yet. But I did manage to capture a couple of birds feeding behind a wire fence where the AF points were small enough to ignore the fence and get the feathers. So far so good. Screw drive primes just snap in to focus as fast as the motor and helical allow. My longest DA lenses, the 50-135 and 60-250 find focus faster and with very little final adjustment. My Sigma 70-200 finds focus almost instantaneously. Confident is the word I would emphasise with the AF. I've little experience with comparable C&N camera's so I make no comparisons here.

8.3 FPS is seriously fast. My personal experiment with the buffer revealed a count of 77 frames of jpeg before the camera slowed to a more pedestrian pace. There is practically zero delay between taking a single image and it appearing on the LCD. Very impressive.

I've read where some folk say there is slightly more noise in this 24Mp sensor at high ISO's than there was in the K-5 sensor. I'll not argue the point, but I can't see it. The files look wonderfully clean to my eye, but I've not yet put them through a software torture test. Only viewing OOC Jpegs. Again, to my eye, the removal of the AA filter makes the images sharper then my K-5 in the same light, same lens. the K-5 images are comparable to the Type 1 setting, I would say.

I am still experimenting with the various AF modes, and a little unsure about where to set the re-focus delay. I'm thinking that it will be situation specific. Tracking a moving object through tree boughs? ok, thats one situation, set the appropriate re-focus delay. Tracking objects without obstruction moving toward you at high speed? set a different delay. We all need to experiment and find out how this feature is designed to work and the optimum setting. The user modes may prove very handy here.

I've not had a chance to get out my lenscal equipment yet, but all the lenses I've attached so far seem spot on in calibration, with the exception of the 50-135, which I fiddled with a little to get the focus roughly correct. Good result.

The rear LCD is just eye popping in its clarity. not quite i-pad great, but in the neighbourhood. There is an additional 4th scroll of the info screen to accommodate the GPS module/compass. There is a familiar Pentax logic to the screen layout and the menu system, far superior in my limited experience to the N or C menu's which have me confuzzled. I like the opportunity to set the screen to my preferred colour. I chose a cobalt blue scheme, but that will change over time and with my mood.

The viewfinder is bright and clear, not cluttered with information I don't need to see. Personally I don't see any significant difference to the viewfinder of my K-5, but the K-5 has a Canon S-type split screen installed, so that may make a difference.

The bundled flucard is easy to set up and 'just works'. The software interface is a little clunky, and not quite the experience of tethering into , say, lightroom or capture one. But hey, it imports files without me having to do the work manually, so I'm not complaining. I'm hopefully confident that the Pentax version of the Flucard will have a better interface experience.

i've never had any interest in video, and as far as i'm concerned the features of the K-3 as a vehicle for this form of expression may as well be non-existant, so I'm neither qualified nor passionate about this area. i'll leave it to others to comment.

I'm trying hard to think of a negative (after all of 5 hrs playing with the camera), the only three things that come to mind are -
1, it's hard to find the AF select button on camera left
2, my thumb, trained as it is to operate the K-5 AF button, keeps finding the AE-L button on the K-3 instead. This will improve with usage.
3, I miss ISO 80. I would have preferred if the Pentax engineers had gone the other way and extended the range down to ISO 50. Que sera sera.

These are Minor things, hardly worth mentioning, but presented in the interests of balance and full disclosure.

It took me several hours to even notice the word Ricoh on the rear of the camera, so that isn't an issue for me personally.

All in all, this is a seriously competent piece of kit. Well thought out, made for photographers, not for soccer Mums.

Kudos Ricoh/Pentax. A job very well done.

[[Some background for those interested. I came to Pentax about 6 years ago when a salesman actually steered me towards a K-2000d as the best camera for my needs, and best bang for buck. He pointed out I could pick up many inexpensive but high quality lenses from yesteryear which would work with the camera, and each stabilised, and the idea appealed to me. Since then I've acquired far too many lenses, far too much Pentax gear that gets rare use, and am now the proud owner of some of the finest pieces of photographic equipment ever made by anyone. Check my sig line. (all I lack is vision and talent, sadly)]]


Last edited by wizofoz; 11-11-2013 at 04:44 PM.
11-11-2013, 03:57 PM   #2
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Useful K-3 feedback. Good to hear your impressions of the image noise levels in particular.

QuoteOriginally posted by wizofoz Quote
I miss ISO 80.
Seems a popular lament!

QuoteOriginally posted by wizofoz Quote
I would have preferred if the Pentax engineers had gone the other way and extended the range down to ISO 50.
And it would have helped ensure a slight boost to the K-3's DxOMark score (when it is done) by boosting the K-3's dynamic range number a bit. Especially important in relation to any upcoming K-3 vs D7100 comparisons, as the D7100 is also limited to an ISO floor of just ISO 100.
11-11-2013, 04:19 PM   #3
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I'm glad i took the time to read your post. I haven't read the manual for my new K-3, and I wondered what I would need to do to implement ISO 80. Now I know -- dream!
11-11-2013, 04:30 PM   #4
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+100 about ISO80.
I miss that a great deal.
I hope a firmware update gives it to us.

11-11-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by wizofoz Quote
I miss ISO 80. I would have preferred if the Pentax engineers had gone the other way and extended the range down to ISO 50.
Its presence was just a lucky circumstance. I'm not sure how they did it: perhaps allowed the sensel response curve to enter more into a non-linear region of operation near saturation. If, so perhaps they then applied a compensating part to the processing to linearise this portion of the response.The base ISO and its DR is usually related to the FWC (Full-Well Capacity), Conversion Gain and Read Noise of the sensel. Trade-offs have to be made. See more about this here:

http://www.aptina.com/products/technology/DR-Pix_WhitePaper.pdf

You could have an ISO50 mode as Canon sometimes offers, but it's just a fudge.

Dan.
11-11-2013, 06:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wizofoz Quote
Well, it's here finally, and its just a WOW! of a bit of kit. I really thought it was going to be hard to top my beloved K-5, but I'm smitten.

Thanks for this Wiz.
Where did you get your K-3 from?
I'm outer east too, you see - with no K-3.

AB
11-11-2013, 07:24 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by dosdan Quote
Its presence was just a lucky circumstance. I'm not sure how they did it: perhaps allowed the sensel response curve to enter more into a non-linear region of operation near saturation. If, so perhaps they then applied a compensating part to the processing to linearise this portion of the response.The base ISO and its DR is usually related to the FWC (Full-Well Capacity), Conversion Gain and Read Noise of the sensel. Trade-offs have to be made. See more about this here:
You didn't write Sir Humphies speeches for Yes Minister in a former life did you Dan?
11-11-2013, 07:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mutters Quote
Thanks for this Wiz.
Where did you get your K-3 from?
I'm outer east too, you see - with no K-3.

AB
G'day Mutters, thanks for reading my post.

I pre-ordered from CRK, they sent it out on Thursday, and it was delivered yesterday.

I live near Emerald in the Dandenongs, (With a K-3!)

11-11-2013, 07:47 PM   #9
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ISO 80 was not native but created by the firmware
Here how it's done per Class A
QuoteQuote:
Any ISO settings that are lower than the sensor's native ISO are achieved by overexposing the image during the shot and downscaling it digitally later. The tell-tale sign of doing so is a loss of dynamic range (due to the downscaling).
11-11-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobmaxja Quote
ISO 80 was not native but created by the firmware
Here how it's done per Class A
QuoteQuote:
Any ISO settings that are lower than the sensor's native ISO are achieved by overexposing the image during the shot and downscaling it digitally later. The tell-tale sign of doing so is a loss of dynamic range (due to the downscaling).
But that's not how it was done on the K-5, which has an increased FWC & DR at ISO80 compared to ISO100.

Dan.
11-11-2013, 08:34 PM   #11
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Still it's was not native, it was firware base. The sensor was not rated at ISO 80.
11-11-2013, 10:04 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by wizofoz Quote
G'day Mutters, thanks for reading my post.

I pre-ordered from CRK, they sent it out on Thursday, and it was delivered yesterday.

I live near Emerald in the Dandenongs, (With a K-3!)
I can almost see your place from here - Croydon - except for the dirty great hill in the way, and the magnificent glow of your K-3!

It's funny how the dealers aren't getting anything yet.

I was going to order straight from CRK, but my local dealer freaks when I do.

Get some good shots of this rain!

AB
11-11-2013, 10:22 PM   #13
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Good thread. I'm really pleased that there is at least one k-3 on the loose in my general area. I'm holding off to see what CRK do with the price of K5iis, as I'd kinda decided it might offer the value for me, but the 3 just sounds better and better.
11-11-2013, 10:25 PM   #14
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Hey Wiz' Glad to hear your thoughts. But my question has to do with your K2000d; Where in Melbourne (or even in a much wider region) did you find a salesman who steered you towards Pentax?? You obviously live in a different part of the universe to me!
11-11-2013, 10:30 PM   #15
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Peter at Greensborough Photography used to push Pentax a lot. He steered me away from a 40D to the K10 which started me on the Pentax way. Alas, he retired and it became Teds a few years back.
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