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11-19-2013, 06:54 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Experiences with the new K-3 Camera (Lots of Photos)

It's been a couple of weeks since the K3 officially became available. There are a lot reviews already, and some of them are very detailed, all of them praised K3 and considered it as the best APSC camera available right now:

Pentax K-3 Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Pentax K-3 Digital SLR Review
Essentials: The Street Fashion Blogger - The Phoblographer

I'm sorry my promised review has been delayed until now. No excuse, just too lazy I guess...

Anyway, I've had the new K3 for about a week and two weekends. Before that I played the pre-production set for a few days. I won't repeat what the above reviewers already said (and please do take a look at those reviews if you want to know more about this excellent camera). I just wanna emphasise on a few improvements K3 has over the previous cameras, especially the K5II/s and K30.

SOLID Build
My initial feeling is that the camera is SOLID! Yes, it feels even more solid than the K5/II/s. The grip is slightly deeper, which improves the holding and feeling in hands. I guess we all know that WR is a big selling point for Pentax dSLR cameras, especially here in South East Asia countries.

FAST in operation and focusing
I've mentioned it before (during my hands-on review), and I'd confirm again that this is the fastest Pentax camera I've ever played, and I've had pretty much all Pentax SLR/DSLR cameras (minus medium or large fram cameras). Everything seems to be faster: changing settings, auto focusing and taking photos, card access... It's just a turbo boosted K5IIs. The live-view focusing is the fastest I've ever tried on any dSLR camera, it's probaby faster than many mirrorless cameras too in this regard.

K3 also features a super fast continuous shooting speed at 8.3FPS. I'd never use my camera like a machine gun, but I'm sure many out there love doing so. It's good to see that we finally have a camera which is faster than most other dSLR cameras from Canon/Nikon when we want to take multi-frame action photos.

Accurate Metering, AWB and auto focusing
This might have been mentioned elsewhere, but probably not emphasised. Thanks to its 86K pixel RGB light-metering sensor and improved algorithms in exposure, multi-pattern white balance and SAFOX11 autofocus module, K3 is the most accurate camera in exposure, WB and AF that I've ever used. I mentioned that the camera is really fast, now best of all, it's not just fast, the focusing is very accurate too. So far all my lenses are all spot on, be it indoor under dim light or under bright sun. Plus spot on metering and white balance, I'm sure everyone would benefit from all these enhancement.

Anti-Aliasing filter simulator
K3 features a newly developed anti-aliasing simulator which helps eliminating the need to commit to either supreme resolution or superior moiré control. This is probably the 1st camera which features a selectable anti-aliasing filter, giving the user the ability to easily toggle anti-aliasing functionality on or off. If you read in the above reviews, you'd see that K3's anti-aliasing simulator applies microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the subpixel level during image exposure, generating the same level of moiré-reduction effect as an optical anti-aliasing filter. Note: This function is most effective with a shutter speed of 1/1000 second or slower. This function is not available during HDR shooting.

I've yet got chance to try this feature myself, here are some samples I copied from Pentax brochure:
The actual scene:

And different AA filter simulation effect:


I'm sure this would come in handy when needed.

Dual SD card slots with optional FLU, Eye-fi wireless and SDX Memory card compatibility
I've wanted this feature for years. Thank you Pentax for giving us this. Now we can put two SD cards in at the same time, and they can be customized to different purpose:
one card for still image and the other for video
one card for main storage and the other as backup
one FLU/Eye-fi wireless card in one slot while a normal SD card in the other
...
I haven't got a wifi capable SD card yet (which I'm sure I will in the near future), right now I put in two cards, one for video and one for still photos, works perfectly.

USB3.0 connection
I guess most of us are still using USB2.0 or even USB1.0 card readers when dumping photos from the camera to computers, which is still much faster than copying photos directly from the previous cameras to computers through USB connection. With K3, I bet you'd love to copy photos to computers through the built-in USB3.0 port, which is really fast.

Now Pentax please give us the tethering, so we can use this USB3.0 capability in full.

professional H.264 video
Since K-01 Pentax cameras have improved a lot in video recording, but only until K3 that Pentax really take video recording very seriously: dedicated video record button, full HD movie capture in the H.264 format (60i/50i/30p/24p), the ability to switch from still image to video recording with the flip of a dedicated switch. The user can also adjust the audio recording level manually and monitor sound levels during recording. Other than the microphone terminal for external microphone connection, there is even a headphone jack on the front shoulder of the camera.

I was pretty surprised when I saw the headphone jack, couldn't help but plug in my favorite IEMs (an AKG K3003i), here we have a best DAP combo:





Don't know if Pentax would make MP3 player feature available on this cool camera

Common Pentax senses
Other than those I mentioned above, we Pentaxians have been really enjoying these common features in most Pentax dSLR cameras: in-body shake reduction, WR sealed body, Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage (and K3 even features 95% magnification), Magnesium alloy body w/ stainless steel chassis, excellent ergonomics, built-in electronic level,


There are way too many new features in this new camera, I can't describe them all here. Better read the more detailed info from the review links I post in the beginning, so you'd know more about the camera.

Here come to the best part of my review, actual photos. But as usual, before I post the sample photos, I'd love to show off the new camera first:









What a beauty! Pity this isn't mine. It's from a good friend (another long time diehard Pentax fan).

I've bought limited edition silver K5 before, loved it. But this round I decided to go w/ the black one:





The lens mounted on the second photo is the newly release DA 55-300 HD WR lens. We all know what WR stands for, HD is a new improved coating over previous SMC coatings. This is another beautiful lens which everyone should consider to get one:



As mentioned earlier, I only had the new camera for a week plus, and before that I tried a preproduction set for a couple of days. So far I've really enjoyed using the camera, and it's definitely the best camera I've ever had.

I don't want to show you photos of boring charts this time, or comparison photos between the new K3 and earlier K5IIs or K30. I'll just post some actual photos I've taken during a couple of school events my kids participated, and some street photos as usual. Hope you enjoy viewing them. Oh btw, all photos were taken in JPG with minimum post processing (some photos I've posted already during my hands-on review, but the links were gone. Here I'm posting them again together with some new photos I took).

The following photos were taken with the preproduction K3:







































The follwoing were taken with the new K3:





































I have some other photos which I haven't got chance to look at them yet. Will do so when time comes.


From what I've experienced so far, I'd say for most users this can be the ultimate camera, and the final camera you ever need. There are so many other improvement or features I can't cover, the best way to find out is to get the camera yourself

11-19-2013, 07:02 AM   #2
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Thank you for your review... I've been on the fence for this camera... VERY tempting .
Time to sell the k-5 or wait another year!?
11-19-2013, 07:04 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
Thank you for your review... I've been on the fence for this camera... VERY tempting .
Time to sell the k-5 or wait another year!?
Thanks. Better just get the K3 so you won't be on the fence for so long As to the K5, you can keep as second camera or sell it to recover some cost, or just pass to your relative to make another Pentaxian
11-19-2013, 07:18 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
Thanks. Better just get the K3 so you won't be on the fence for so long As to the K5, you can keep as second camera or sell it to recover some cost, or just pass to your relative to make another Pentaxian
Decisions, decisions...

Well I already have a k-01 as a back-up camera and one will have to go if I get the K-3.
And since K-5 holds more value, that will be the one to go. Giving away the K-5 for relatives will be a waste of a good camera... camera cellphones for them are THE best invention ever

11-19-2013, 07:44 AM   #5
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Frank: Thanks for posting this review. I'm think of getting the K-3 (I now shoot a K-20D), and it would be a huge jump - I think. Fantastic photos of the children. They looked very relaxed and were having a good time. Once again, thanks for taking the time to post your review.
11-19-2013, 09:15 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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Awesome!
I just have one thing to say, and it's about how you attached the camera strap!

The Mysteries of a Pentax Camera Strap

11-19-2013, 09:31 AM   #7
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Bravo, Frank, Many thanks for this review and these photos, which are wonderful. I saw some of them when you posted them earlier, and it's good to have them back. Only thing holding me back from taking the plunge and buying a K 3 right away is the fact that within the next eight months I have to buy a new car and a new house.
11-19-2013, 10:42 AM   #8
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Thanks, Frank, for the very useful observations and excellent real-life photos. I had a K-5, and sold it to get the K-30. I was planning to skip the K-3,
but now I am not sure at all. The K-3 appears to be a worthwhile upgrade for the kind of shooting I do. Thanks again for your report. Always look forward to anything you have to say.

11-19-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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Can you compare the jello effect in video, between your K-3 and your K-01??
Thanks.
11-19-2013, 06:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
Decisions, decisions...

Well I already have a k-01 as a back-up camera and one will have to go if I get the K-3.
And since K-5 holds more value, that will be the one to go. Giving away the K-5 for relatives will be a waste of a good camera... camera cellphones for them are THE best invention ever
That's true. My wife loves her Note II far better than my X100 or dSLR cameras


QuoteOriginally posted by cardinal43 Quote
Frank: Thanks for posting this review. I'm think of getting the K-3 (I now shoot a K-20D), and it would be a huge jump - I think. Fantastic photos of the children. They looked very relaxed and were having a good time. Once again, thanks for taking the time to post your review.
Thanks. Can't imagine I'd ever use a camera like K20D after I've had a camera like K3. They are just not in the same league, and like generation apart to me. You'd be amazed how much better the new camera is over the earlier ones, K5II and K30 included.


QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
Awesome!
I just have one thing to say, and it's about how you attached the camera strap!

The Mysteries of a Pentax Camera Strap

I know exactly what you meant. I did the same previously, but felt a bit overdone. So I'm w/ my current method, faster on/off and secure enough


QuoteOriginally posted by jva59 Quote
Bravo, Frank, Many thanks for this review and these photos, which are wonderful. I saw some of them when you posted them earlier, and it's good to have them back. Only thing holding me back from taking the plunge and buying a K 3 right away is the fact that within the next eight months I have to buy a new car and a new house.
Thanks. Guess I'm luckier that I don't have any mortgage or loan to pay off, and my car still runs fine (it's too expensive to change cars here in Singapore right now ). But compare to those, a camera cost far less, and would give me a lot more fun (especially than a new car, which does nothing better than an old one but cost a lot more).

QuoteOriginally posted by jlstrawman Quote
Thanks, Frank, for the very useful observations and excellent real-life photos. I had a K-5, and sold it to get the K-30. I was planning to skip the K-3,
but now I am not sure at all. The K-3 appears to be a worthwhile upgrade for the kind of shooting I do. Thanks again for your report. Always look forward to anything you have to say.
I've had the K30 too, and the K5IIs as well. Both are excellent cameras. But K3 gives a lot more than the price difference imo. I understand we don't need a camera like K3 to make good photos, K30 is more than capable. But if it can make me sleep better and get the job done easier, I'd go for the better tool.

QuoteOriginally posted by rdj92807 Quote
Can you compare the jello effect in video, between your K-3 and your K-01??
Thanks.
What jello effect? And sorry I don't have a K01 anymore...
11-19-2013, 07:23 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdj92807 Quote
Can you compare the jello effect in video, between your K-3 and your K-01??
Thanks.
Here's a start
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/243090-jello-k-3-v-k-01-a.html#post2585122
11-21-2013, 06:30 PM   #12
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Thanks for the link. I didn't shoot much video w/ dSLR cameras, got dedicated videocam for that. It's good to know anyway.
11-22-2013, 01:23 PM   #13
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Is it my imagination and/or wishful thinking, or are the ones taken with the new K-3 generally sharper than the ones taken with the pre-prod one?

Coincidence?
11-22-2013, 03:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisA Quote
Is it my imagination and/or wishful thinking, or are the ones taken with the new K-3 generally sharper than the ones taken with the pre-prod one?

Coincidence?
For out-of-camera jpegs, it could be the case that pre-release firmware defaults the jpeg settings to 0, with sharper settings being the default in the production firmware.

When I bought my K10D, reviewers (well, DP Review for one) would always make a pointed comment about how soft Pentax jpegs were out of the camera. The reviewers also made a point of not shifting the controls from default. Maybe Pentax has addressed that? (I haven't actually checked the default jpeg settings on my K-3!)
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