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08-10-2014, 07:47 AM   #1
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New to forums_Considering K3 (from Nikon D7000)

Hi all. Newbie to these forums. I've searched this (and other) forum(s) but haven't really found a direct answer to my questions.

I currently have a Nikon D7000 (and various lenses) and am considering a lateral move to the Pentax K3. I'm specifically wondering how the Pentax K3 AF-system compares (directly) to the Nikon D7000 AF-system. I keep reading that the Pentax with SAFOX 11 is 'improved' over previous Pentax cameras - but is it improved (or similar, or below, the Nikon D7000....and to what degrees of improvement or sub-performances)? I use single-point, continuous focus with Back-button focus technique. Also - does the K3 buffer actually load up 22 RAW images before the buffer fill, or is that on paper only, under certain image quality settings? I typically shoot in multiple 1/2-second to 1-second bursts (as opposed to a single, continuous 3-second burst) - but with shooting at a 20-second peleton, those sub-second bursts do add up and can clog a buffer.

I use the D7000 for sports, during daylight conditions (from dawn to late afternoon while there is bright, even still harsh sunlight conditions). Cycling photography and surf photography - subject movement is generally lateral panning type shots, with occasional short turn breaks either towards me or at oblique angles coming towards me. I routinely start my exposure speeds at 1/800, but my preferred sweet spot is 1/1250. My current lenses are all fixed 2.8 apertures; I also have a fixed f4 lens, but have found I prefer f2.8 lenses. Any experiences with the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and the Sigma 300mm f2.8? Also - there is the older sigma-pentax TC - was/is it any good (understanding my f2.8 is now an f4)?

So long story short - I basically have three questions:
(1) Is the Pentax K3 AF-system as good (or better, or worse) than the Nikon D7000? Panning-type motions with occasional front-face turns; using single-point, continuous focus with Back-button technique.
(2) The Pentax K3 drive-system and buffer - is the 22 RAW image buffer spec on paper only, or in real-world experience?
(2a) Also - wasn't totally clear - this can take both RAW + jpg simultaneously, on the same card? I generally release some of my photos as camera-processed jpegs to event directors as these events are happening.
(3) Lenses - I prefer f2.8 series lenses. For those who've used the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and/or the Sigma 300mm f2.8 (with or without the 1.4TC), can you comment on the performance?

Sorry for the long post - looking forward to any responses and opinions. Thanks.

08-10-2014, 08:12 AM   #2
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2 The buffer takes 24 shots RAW or RAW + JPG (on the same card) before it slows down
2a Yes you can shoot RAW and JPG on the same card or use one card for JPG and one for RAW
3 Tamron 70-200 2.8. Very high performance in focus speed and IQ. Compared to the Nikon i do not know.

EDIT

3 Tamron with Pentax 1.4 TC works fine.
08-10-2014, 08:20 AM   #3
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Welcome to the Pentax Forums!

I have not shot with the Nikon, but I am happy with my K-3 AF. OTOH, conventional wisdom is that Nikon has the best AF system on the planet for subject tracking and action sports.

The buffer works as advertised.

Raw + JPEG can be done on the same card or split between two cards.

I don't have either lens you are wondering about.
08-10-2014, 08:27 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.

The one test report I saw compared the K-3 to D7100, which is actually a lateral comparison ( I think it was pop photo but i could be wrong) They rated the Pentax faster for auto-foucs, the D7100 slightly superior for tracking. A K-3 should be quite a step up from a D7000, which is a K-5 era camera.

08-10-2014, 08:59 AM   #5
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A friend has a D7000 and went to the D7100. I would say the autofocus on the K3 is pretty close to the D7000. The buffer on the K3 is real. Get a fast SD card and it is rare that you will notice any slowdown. The D7100 buffer is a black mark on an otherwise excellent body.

What lenses do you use? Long fast focus lenses are a problem in the Pentax lineup.
08-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #6
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A couple more data points, for info:


Some of the points raised here are also usefully discussed here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/267004-k-3-compared-d7100-70d.html
08-10-2014, 10:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tx_roadie Quote
(3) Lenses - I prefer f2.8 series lenses. For those who've used the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and/or the Sigma 300mm f2.8 (with or without the 1.4TC), can you comment on the performance?
Lenses are a key factor in AF speed- and there are certainly more fast-focusing lenses for Nikon than for Pentax. With that said, the Tamron 70-200mm for Pentax is quite fast, but noisy. The K-3 has an improved screwdrive motor, so it will focus faster than earlier bodies, but I would probably still go for the Sigma 70-200mm, which has HSM.

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08-10-2014, 10:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Lenses are a key factor in AF speed- and there are certainly more fast-focusing lenses for Nikon than for Pentax. With that said, the Tamron 70-200mm for Pentax is quite fast, but noisy. The K-3 has an improved screwdrive motor, so it will focus faster than earlier bodies, but I would probably still go for the Sigma 70-200mm, which has HSM.
As Adam noted the Sigma is widely regarded as the best choice in this range. However, I've seen the Tamron for $640 new. That's enough price difference to get you two lenses for the price of one, if money is an issue.

08-10-2014, 10:21 AM   #9
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Hi all. First off- Thanks for the replies so far, this is a very helpful forum. In terms of the camera comparisons, I'm specifically looking at the points of comparison of the K3 to D7000 - the buffer capacity of the D7100 is why I'm not in the market for the D7100 (despite the better AF tracking vs the D7000). There was (several months ago) an ill-fated rumor for a D7200, but that rumor seems dead, and the rumor leaks for Photokina indicate Nikon is moving forward with another Fx body (rumored).

My main sport lenses are the older Nikon 80-200 f2.8 ED and the second-generation Sigma 120-300 f2.8 +/- 2xTC. I also have a Nikon D610 (used for just about everything else, as well as low-light/evening/indoor sports). My subject matter is as close as 10-15 feet away, upwards of 100-120 meters away (depending on where I set my tripod and where the surfers line up, so a "foot-zoom" is not always a practical solution). I will be keeping my Nikon system, but I am contemplating if maybe - as a DX system, the Pentax K3 (and the Tamron 70-200 and Sigma 300mm) is a sensible option during bright, daytime events. If the K3 AF-system is at least as good as my D7000, with better buffer capacity...I might give it a go (If the true lateral comparison is the K3 vs D7100, that is very promising).

I can rent the K3 body to try out (and I will), the issue is renting either the Tamron or Sigma lenses, since that is the body/lens systems I will be specifically using on the K3. I can rent the Pentax 50-135mm, which will give the FOV of an 80-200 on FF, but I would like to take full advantage of the crop-sensor FOV by using fx-type lenses on the K3. Also - I can rent the Pentax 300mm f4; while that aperture is fine, especially during the day, I've always instinctively mounted my bigger 120-300 f2.8 (and not my smaller Sigma 120-300mm f4) to my Nikon. I'm obviously moderated vested in Nikon-mount glass, but overall I'm not averse to investing in a non-Nikon system - the new body is somewhat of a moot point, since I'm in the market for a DX body anyway, be it Nikon (again), or Pentax, or another; the lenses...$800 for the Tamron is reasonable, if the lens IQ is good. At 300mm+, that will require some contemplation if I go to the Pentax system.

Also - forgot to mention...most of my Nikon lenses are the older "D" series lenses which require the camera body to drive the AF, and I'm quite used to this system for sports/action photography. I actually like to feel the "kickback" these lenses give when they hit their focus. Audible noise of screw-drive motors isn't really an issue, since this system will be used outdoors.

Thanks again all for the replies thus far. Please - if any other thoughts, chime in.

Last edited by tx_roadie; 08-10-2014 at 10:29 AM. Reason: added more stuff
08-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Lenses are a key factor in AF speed- and there are certainly more fast-focusing lenses for Nikon than for Pentax. With that said, the Tamron 70-200mm for Pentax is quite fast, but noisy. The K-3 has an improved screwdrive motor, so it will focus faster than earlier bodies, but I would probably still go for the Sigma 70-200mm, which has HSM.
Isn't the Sigma now discontinued? Lens availability would be a major consideration in this choice. I'm currently seriously considering a switch away from Pentax for this very reason.
08-10-2014, 10:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would probably still go for the Sigma 70-200mm, which has HSM.
The HSM 70-200 Sigma's are great lenses for sports:

Day 3 - Car 2 - Subaru WRX - Happy Valley stage
Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM II

but the DA*300 f4 SDM is also no slouch either. It's a cracker lens on the K-3:

Day 3 - Car 0 - Happy Valley stage
08-10-2014, 10:32 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heelers Quote
Isn't the Sigma now discontinued? Lens availability would be a major consideration in this choice. I'm currently seriously considering a switch away from Pentax for this very reason.
What lens are you looking for that isn't available?
"Find the lens you love, buy the camera it goes on."
Switching brands because you might have something you want in the future that isn't available in your mount, would probably be a little silly.
On the other hand, if there's a lens you have to have that isn't available in your mount then sell everything and get it.
Camera bodies come and go, but your dream lens can be used pretty much forever, or at least until it's not your dream lens anymore.
I mean you could switch because of a perceived lack of future lens choices, and then Pentax could come out with your dream lens...

But I agree... Sigma dropping Pentax in the 70-200 is distressing. I might never have bought one, but I liked having the choice. I got a Sigma 8-16 before they were discontinued and am a happy camper because of it. If it's Sigma in a Pentax mount, buy it while you can, it may be short lived. (Spoken in reference to the Sigma 18-35 ƒ1.8 zoom. It would seem to be a great lens, but so were the 8-16, and 70-200, get it while you can if you think you might like it.)

Last edited by normhead; 08-10-2014 at 10:38 AM.
08-10-2014, 10:36 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heelers Quote
I'm currently seriously considering a switch away from Pentax for this very reason.
I bought my Sigma 70-200 HSM II after that model had been discontinued. Cost me about $550 new. Best time to buy Stock floats around in the distribution channel for ages.
08-10-2014, 10:39 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
I bought my Sigma 70-200 HSM II after that model had been discontinued. Cost me about $550 new. Best time to buy Stock floats around in the distribution channel for ages.
The best I saw was $899. At $550 I would have snapped one up for sure. I checked Photoprice.ca and they show none of them left in Canada.
08-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #15
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I'm not a Nikon shooter so at best I can give you indirect comparisons which may be useful. I left shooting sports with Pentax about six years ago for the Canon 7D-- which has excellent tracking AF-along with Nikon the best for cropped cameras. Last year I got a K-3 as I still had excellent Pentax glass, and I wanted to give the K-3 a try at sports. I knew it shot more artful stuff just fine. Unfortunately few modern high performing zoom lenses (for what I do, a relatively fast zoom is necessary) exist. I found a now-defunct Sigma 100-300 f4 and shot about 1000 frames of soccer, birds, other action with it.
I also did comparison shooting with my 7D + 100-400mm 4.5-5.6.
Bottom line: the K-3 is about 60% as effective for action as my six-year old 7D and 1998-era zoom. The zoom was screw driven and too noisy to use for birds. I feel that Pentax has done their customers a big disservice by not coming out with a modern AF zoom that hits 300-400mm, so in my book few have the experience and tools to properly judge the AF performance of the K-3. Your Sigma Sport zoom-- too heavy for me-- is not available in K-mount.
Just for the record I sold the K-3 and went with a 5D MK3 which has exponentially better AF and all around quality. Maybe a true D-300s replacement will happen soon?

M
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