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01-30-2014, 02:42 AM   #1
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K3 - two questions important to my choice to buy

I am very seriously thinking of buying a K3.

My current camera is a K100DS which is now rather aged. Since I got that I have grown to primarily using MF lenses, one of which is a large diameter mirror lens.

This raises some elementary questions which I have not seen answered directly on the forum.

1. My large mirror lens JUST clears the flash housing on the K100DS (a few mm). Does the K3 flash housing protrude forward of the mount more or less than the K100DS housing?

2. I have struggled with focusing the MF lenses (Super Tak and SMC Tak). When I get it right I am really pleased with results, but my hit rate is much less than with the old MX. (The eyes are older too!) I tried a K5 for a few frames with one lens 6 months ago. I was really impressed that the viewfinder seems a stop or 2 faster than the K100DS making is much easier to get focus (SMC Tak 135/2.5). I was impressed by the viewfinder. The owner of the K5 was most impressed by what the vintage lens could do. So the question is: does the viewfinder in the K3 make MF much easier than the K100DS viewfinder, and about equal to the K5?

I hope someone can help me with answers to my COIs related to my MOEs (in addition to what is obvious about the achievable performance from many posters in the forum) in order to enable me to decide to move. Sorry if you find the things that could tip the balance to quite so unusual.

01-30-2014, 02:49 AM - 1 Like   #2
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1. I used to have a K100D and now have a K-3. From what I remember, the K100D's flash housing protrudes very far out from the camera. I actually used to pick it up from the flash housing (probably a bad idea but oh well). The K-3 protrusion is not as large nor as low.



VS



2. The K-3 viewfinder has a greater magnification factor than both the K100D and the K-5. It is also brighter than both. But to tell you the truth, I'd focus my MF lenses with live view and focus peaking. The K-5 has live view but not focus peaking. IMO, focus peaking is the best thing that has ever happened to MF lenses.


Last edited by geomez; 01-30-2014 at 02:55 AM.
01-30-2014, 02:51 AM   #3
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Yes, K-3 viewfinder is bigger than K100DS. However, focusing screen is still suggested for reliable MF, at least it helped me with the hit ratio with my k-5. Btw, k-3 also has focus peaking so it should further help.
01-30-2014, 03:04 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
Yes, K-3 viewfinder is bigger than K100DS. However, focusing screen is still suggested for reliable MF, at least it helped me with the hit ratio with my k-5. Btw, k-3 also has focus peaking so it should further help.
Which focussing screen did you get?

01-30-2014, 03:20 AM   #5
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Thank you all, crowd sourcing knowledge from around the world.

The side image of the two presented together like that and the comments gives confidence the mirror lens with 115mm diameter of the part that matters for the potential conflict will fit.

I never thought of the possibility of focus peaking or live view since I have not had access to those before. The video makes that look wonderful as a tool.

Maybe later I will get an alternate focusing screen. I got one for the K100DS (focusingscreen) and have been reasonably happy with it - as an improvement on the OEM but not happy enough to remain satisfied - especially as much of my work is in dim light - night, indoor with artificial light or places like conference presentation halls.

Without experience of focus peaking I thought the best thing that happened to MF lenses was shake reduction - that is what I tell my friends as a major justification for using Pentax. So FP MUST be GOOD!

The next conference where I expect to go and be an official photographer should be in Las Vegas. Driving in the desert there is wonderful. Hope I could organise to get to Death Valley. Went to Valley of Fire last time.
01-30-2014, 04:22 AM   #6
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Going from the K100D to the K-3 is like upgrading from a Ford Model T to a Ferrari

I live in Las Vegas. Death Valley is interesting, but I prefer Valley of Fire. When you go you might want to check out China Ranch Date Farm which is located in Death Valley. It's a nice little oasis.
01-30-2014, 06:28 AM   #7
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Tim60, have you considered the K-50? The K-3 is Pentax's best, but the features that push it past the K-50 don't seem to be relevant to your use. Compared to a K-50, the K-3 has improved auto-focus, faster handling, top LCD, metal exterior and 24mp. Do you need these features? If you do, the K-3 is a magnificent beast, but a K-50 is worlds better than the K100DS and may suffice.

Compared to the K100DS, the K-50 has 16mp resolution, low noise/high dynamic range sensor, dual control wheels, 100% coverage pentaprism, larger screen, focus peaking, video, weather-resistant body, and much faster processing. By going with a K-50, you could save some money, or invest in your lens collection.

Note that there are rumours of new Pentax bodies to be revealed in mid-February. You may as well sit tight until then.
01-30-2014, 06:30 AM   #8
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I can confirm the K5 classic does not have focus peaking. If I do get a K3, I will probably get a nice split screen for the K5.

01-30-2014, 06:59 AM   #9
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Just with regard to manual focusing, I do think using live view with focus peaking is something that is really handy on the K3. Viewfinder is a lot nicer than the one on the K100 as well, but I still struggle some with manual focusing in an APS-C viewfinder.
01-30-2014, 10:30 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Which focussing screen did you get?
I got mine from Focusing Screen, Nikon k3 type (note that k3 is a Nikon made screen, don't get confused with K-3 DSLR), please refer to focusing screen comparison on their website. However, if I have to buy one again, I may go with Canon ee-s type.
01-30-2014, 10:56 AM   #11
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Following up on Rondec, before the K3, due to vision deterioration, I couldn't use the optical VF on a dSLR for manual focus. I've cycled through K-01 and Q for LV and several vintage film cameras until finding the LX with FB-1/FC-1 works.

I got a K3.

The new VF and diopter are so good I can use my RIGHT EYE, which I haven't been able to do for 5 years!! Most manual focus needs can be met in the VF, but it is nice to have Focus Peaking and auto-zoom on the LCD (I set it for 4X on the OK button) when critical focus is necessary.
01-30-2014, 12:52 PM   #12
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Thank you for all the comments.

I have often noticed in the forums the suggestion to people to go up the market in single steps or just to time upgrade their older camera.

Since I know I cannot buy a new camera frequently I will be buying what will be my camera for the next decade (or something like that). By then the K-3 will seem dated. Another thing I learned with the K100DS is that in digital cameras the body is absolutely critical - which is a change from film, where the body gives control of exposure but the film and lens creates the imaging performance. That is, in digital, if I am basically happy with the camera but want to upgrade a bit I cannot just change the sensor to get one with the characteristics I want. To look back. In 1981 I bought my MX. I doubt I would have achieved anything different in photography if I had spent twice as much and bought LX (which was released after my purchase.) But now, the additional features, of an up the range model, seem to be more likely to impact mainstream activity with the camera.

BTW: I think I have about enough lenses to do almost anything I want, and definitely enough to do anything I could justify to myself spending the money. I bought those over the second half of my K100DS life.
01-30-2014, 01:02 PM   #13
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If you can afford it, I don't think anyone here will try too hard to talk you out of the K3. It's a big step up from the K5 series, much less the K100.
01-30-2014, 03:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
I got mine from Focusing Screen, Nikon k3 type (note that k3 is a Nikon made screen, don't get confused with K-3 DSLR), please refer to focusing screen comparison on their website. However, if I have to buy one again, I may go with Canon ee-s type.
Thanks! The Canon ee-s seems to be the most popular replacement screen.
01-30-2014, 04:32 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tim60 Quote
The next conference where I expect to go and be an official photographer
You will probably find the extra quiet K-3 shutter very useful in such settings.

As with the K-5/K-5II, you can practically use the K-3 on burst whilst standing right next to someone in a quiet room without causing any disturbance. Even quieter if using manual focus.
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