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03-25-2014, 08:36 AM   #1
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K3 - recommended for shooting events?

Hi everyone,

I posted this question earlier on K5 forum but since my question is about K3, i will post it here again.

I'm using K5 and I shoot landscapes, lately more on outdoor portraits and strobist works. So far, it had been a perfect camera for me but just recently I started shooting weddings and events as a second shooter and I find focus speed on this camera to be very limiting .
I am a hobbyist and the K5 is my first and only camera so far but I am considering to buy K3 if I will shoot more weddings and events (more so if professionally).

If there are event shooters here using K3, can you give me a general idea on what's the focus speed and P-TTL like on this new camera? Many reviews say this two areas had been vastly improved but I would like to hear a few words from real world shooters. Do you find it sufficient to get the job done and worth an upgrade from K5? Or is it still not yet sufficient? I am not demanding for Nikon grade TTL system or Canon grade focus speeds but just whether if it is now good enough to get the job done without missing the shots all the time.

Please share with me some of your user review/experience with K3.

03-25-2014, 08:56 AM   #2
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K-3 is a big improvement over K-5 in many ways. I think AF speed is improved but nothing dramatic. But AF speed is also related to the lens used. You might consider looking at a different lens if the AF speed is too slow.
03-25-2014, 09:04 AM   #3
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Sigma 70-200 EX OS HSM if you really want speed AF and F2.8, if your budget and arms can take the strain.
03-25-2014, 09:25 AM   #4
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The AF speed and accuracy in low light has been greatly improved. Where the K-5 hunts the K-3 hits the target.

03-25-2014, 10:45 AM   #5
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I own a K-5IIs and have also found its autofocus not nimble enough for event shooting, meaning I miss a fair number of people photos while waiting or the camera to settle in. I recently shot a four-day event (indoors at a dimly lit conference center) alternating between the K-5IIs (with the Limited 21 and 70 for lenses) and the Canon 6D (with the 28/2.8 IS and 100L macro) just to check my impressions. The Pentax is more pleasant to use, as it's so much smaller. The Canon was hands-down better for photography, though it also hunted miserably at times when trying to use focus points other than the center.

Last month I rented a K-3 for a week-long tryout. The only event I shot was a two-hour press tour inside a new warehouse, once again using my favorite pair of Limiteds, the 21 and 70. While I don't think the K-3 is in Canon territory, it was so much speedier than my K-5IIs that I wouldn't hesitate to use it again to shoot an event. I think the big difference was that the K-3 has much snappier/stronger screw drive, which meant the two Limiteds were actually pretty peppy.
03-25-2014, 10:49 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gmans Quote
Sigma 70-200 EX OS HSM if you really want speed AF and F2.8, if your budget and arms can take the strain.
Been using this lens a lot since I bought it and this is the fastest focusing lens I've had so far. It's very fast even in lowlight and more important it doesnt "hunt" as much as the 50-135mm for exemple.
I think this is a great lens for event, the only drawback is the 70mm starting point so you need to have a second camera, for concert I've been using zither the 50-135mm or the 35mm f/ 2,4 which does the job pretty well.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tjompen1968 Quote
The AF speed and accuracy in low light has been greatly improved. Where the K-5 hunts the K-3 hits the target.
+1 on that. I still use both but the K-3 outperform the K5 in every aspect I think of.
The smaller AF point is a nice bonus too (I use selective AF point).
03-25-2014, 11:50 AM   #7
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Even the K-5 IIs is a significant improvement for me (in AF performance) over the K-5. I got to briefly use a K-3 last weekend at an indoor event, and it seemed even better.

My take is that either one (K-5 IIS or K-3) can do the job, while the K-5 is a little frustrating. Also, unlike with other brands, Pentax has put so much effort into improving the screw-drive AF system over the last couple of DSLR generations (because their future plans still include many screw-drive lenses) that a screw-drive will often outperform an in-lens motor with the latest bodies. So lenses like the Tamron 70-200 and Pentax screw-drive primes are realistic (or even optimal) options if a little focusing noise is not a problem.


Of course you'll have misses, but in poor gymnasium lighting you can still do well. I haven't sorted these all out yet, and may still need to adjust exposure since these in-camera JPEGs went straight to the web, but my K-5 IIs (which has also done well outdoors) did the job indoors last Friday: Top Photos - EventTime Photos

Most or all of these were taken with the F*300. I took a few with the DA*300, but I had more trouble with the AF.

Last edited by DSims; 03-25-2014 at 12:18 PM.
03-25-2014, 12:47 PM   #8
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I took photos of two concerts with K-3. Considering that I was in the audience, it was relatively hard to get quality shots. I used DA* 16-50 and Sigma 28 mm F1.8 (not macro). Surprisingly enough my old copy of 16-50 was better in terms of focusing. Both contrast and phase detection AF worked like a charm. The real problems were relatively slow zoom lens and it's softness when wide open. Most of the shots were ISO 6400, considering a rather specific light and smoke machines, post processing required serious effort. Even at ISO 6400 the shutter speeds were too low for certain scenes.
The concert I shot with Sigma 28 F1.8 had brighter lights, so the shots were in the range of 3200 to 6400. Now that lens, had troubles with focusing.

If you, people are interested I can post some shots from these events.

03-25-2014, 02:33 PM   #9
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I've been using a pair of K-5s for dance & events since mid 2011. Did a hardware refresh to a pair of K5IIs bodies last Dec & Jan.. The really low light focus on the K5IIs is noticeably better. I did not need the higher resolution of the K-3. All I use are zooms: DA12-24, DA 17-70, Tamron 28-75 and DA 50-135 and Sigma 100-300/4. Early on, I settled into manual exposure ( even with flash on P-TTL) and I always use rear AF and single center point focus. Regardless of camera body, I've always been able to make my customers happy, even in very dimly lit venues.There are lots of examples on my event site

Your knowledge, experience and skills will make more of a difference than the specific camera model. The attached photos were made with K5's & zooms. The Kite Festival photo is currently running as a half page in Our State Magazine.

03-25-2014, 02:36 PM   #10
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Dont know abt the K5 focusing but my K3 focuses in pitch dark. Yes Pitch Dark. It needs focus assist light though to illuminate the target but boy focus it does. Now how much better is that from CaNikony? Dont know. Frankly wouldnt care as K3 does all I want it to do....!
03-25-2014, 03:00 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stagnant Quote
I took photos of two concerts with K-3. Considering that I was in the audience, it was relatively hard to get quality shots. I used DA* 16-50 and Sigma 28 mm F1.8 (not macro). Surprisingly enough my old copy of 16-50 was better in terms of focusing. Both contrast and phase detection AF worked like a charm. The real problems were relatively slow zoom lens and it's softness when wide open. Most of the shots were ISO 6400, considering a rather specific light and smoke machines, post processing required serious effort. Even at ISO 6400 the shutter speeds were too low for certain scenes.
The concert I shot with Sigma 28 F1.8 had brighter lights, so the shots were in the range of 3200 to 6400. Now that lens, had troubles with focusing.

If you, people are interested I can post some shots from these events.
I'd be interested in seeing what you could do with the wider angles, and how you handled the post processing (which I'm sure was hard).
03-25-2014, 04:23 PM   #12
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16-50 at 50 mm F2,8 ISO 6400




Sigma 28mm. F2,8 ISO 3200

The images were processed in DxO 9. I am far more satisfied with the images shot using Sigma. Despite the fact that it focused slower than 16-50, the shots that were succesful, seemed to me better. On the other hand the second concert had brighter stage lights and there were no smoke machines.

---------- Post added 03-26-14 at 01:35 AM ----------

You might also want to check this thread for some images : https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/255599-k-3-autofocus-excel...w-light-2.html
03-25-2014, 04:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stagnant Quote


16-50 at 50 mm F2,8 ISO 6400




Sigma 28mm. F2,8 ISO 3200

The images were processed in DxO 9. I am far more satisfied with the images shot using Sigma. Despite the fact that it focused slower than 16-50, the shots that were succesful, seemed to me better. On the other hand the second concert had brighter stage lights and there were no smoke machines.

---------- Post added 03-26-14 at 01:35 AM ----------

You might also want to check this thread for some images : https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/255599-k-3-autofocus-excel...w-light-2.html
I would say, even K-5 works well for events so the K-3 should be awsome!
Carcass, right? Saw them live in December.
03-25-2014, 11:47 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
I would say, even K-5 works well for events so the K-3 should be awsome! Carcass, right? Saw them live in December.
Hell, Carcass and Amon Amarth. The closing show of a tour in Helsinki. December 2013. Hell were the hardest band to shoot, I am not quite satisfied with the shots from that part of the gig.

When I was on a festival in Finnland last summer, I saw a photographer who had Nikon D600 and K-5. I talked to him about his experience with K-5 as an event camera and he said, that it suits low light situations better, due to ergonomics and focusing. According to him the only advantage of his Nikon was the size of the print. I still had K-01 during that event, and shooting that one from audience was extremely hard. I kept half of the photos at best.
03-26-2014, 12:17 AM   #15
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I've never had a K5iis, skipped that generation - just the K5 and recently the K3 in January. I shoot lots of theater promos and dress rehearsals. With the low light (-3ev which is lower than the D7100) focus capability combined with the smaller focus points, the K3 is super for focusing. I had heard all the hype before i bought it, and was really relieved when it turned out to be true. Its also extremely quiet like the K5, which is important for me - i don't like to attract attention when i'm shooting actors.

good luck with your search!
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