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12-10-2014, 08:38 PM   #1
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Considering K-3

I am considering purchasing a K-3, but no retailer near me carries it. That means I will have to order it sight unseen. B&H return policy looks good. Has anyone had any problem making returns?

I do mostly travel photography. My next big trip will be a backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch next summer. It will be 12 days of backpacking with 10 other people who are not there to take pictures. Therefore, my camera needs to be compact, and robust. Battery life will be critical for this trip. An 18-135 lens seems like a good choice. I am currently using a Dimage A3 that has the same equivalent focal length, and find I use the entire range equally.

At my local camera store I looked at the Nikon 7100, and found it is too large. The Fujifilm X-T1and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 are both attractive from the perspective of size and weight. The availability of a weather resistant 18 - 135 lens makes the X-T1 seem better for my needs than the OM-D E-M1, but the Olympus felt better in the hand. I have read the reviews on the X-T1, and it looks like a fine camera. I am not sure I like the ergonomics of the retro controls, but otherwise it looks good. A K-3 if far less expensive than the other options!

Any advice on how to make the decision considering I cannot get my hands on a K-3?

12-10-2014, 09:07 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffBurns Quote
I am considering purchasing a K-3, but no retailer near me carries it. That means I will have to order it sight unseen. B&H return policy looks good. Has anyone had any problem making returns?

I do mostly travel photography. My next big trip will be a backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch next summer. It will be 12 days of backpacking with 10 other people who are not there to take pictures. Therefore, my camera needs to be compact, and robust. Battery life will be critical for this trip. An 18-135 lens seems like a good choice. I am currently using a Dimage A3 that has the same equivalent focal length, and find I use the entire range equally.

At my local camera store I looked at the Nikon 7100, and found it is too large. The Fujifilm X-T1and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 are both attractive from the perspective of size and weight. The availability of a weather resistant 18 - 135 lens makes the X-T1 seem better for my needs than the OM-D E-M1, but the Olympus felt better in the hand. I have read the reviews on the X-T1, and it looks like a fine camera. I am not sure I like the ergonomics of the retro controls, but otherwise it looks good. A K-3 if far less expensive than the other options!

Any advice on how to make the decision considering I cannot get my hands on a K-3?
I had the 18-135 stuck on my K3 most of the time on my trip to Europe a couple weeks ago. It is compact, but you may only get 400-500 shots from a fully charged battery so I would advise getting some extra ones. The image quality is outstanding, and the weather sealing is perfect for a hiking trip with weather that could change on you. The controls are great, and I like how I can do RAW+ and have jpegs go to one SD card and RAW to the other. I use 64gb cards in mine. You could do a full trip with just the 18-135, and if you added the 55-300WR you would have a great WR combo that wouldn't take up much room at all.

You might also consider the K5iis with the same lens since it should get about twice the shots from a charged battery, it is super cheap for the body, and is slightly smaller, though both are much smaller than the Nikon. I have bought all of my Pentax cameras sight unseen and have not regretted it at all.
12-10-2014, 09:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffBurns Quote

snip...
I am not sure I like the ergonomics of the retro controls, but otherwise it looks good. A K-3 if far less expensive than the other options!

Any advice on how to make the decision considering I cannot get my hands on a K-3?
Although many people seem to like the retro style... but it didn't impress me at all (may be just me), plus it is so pricey compared to k-3 which makes perfect sense for me to add (even though I am not in dire need to have it) during the recent price drop on Black Friday.
12-10-2014, 09:12 PM   #4
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Also, I forgot to ad, B&H and Adorama are both great with their return policy.

12-10-2014, 09:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffBurns Quote
I am considering purchasing a K-3, but no retailer near me carries it. That means I will have to order it sight unseen. B&H return policy looks good. Has anyone had any problem making returns?

I do mostly travel photography. My next big trip will be a backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch next summer. It will be 12 days of backpacking with 10 other people who are not there to take pictures. Therefore, my camera needs to be compact, and robust. Battery life will be critical for this trip. An 18-135 lens seems like a good choice. I am currently using a Dimage A3 that has the same equivalent focal length, and find I use the entire range equally.

At my local camera store I looked at the Nikon 7100, and found it is too large. The Fujifilm X-T1and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 are both attractive from the perspective of size and weight. The availability of a weather resistant 18 - 135 lens makes the X-T1 seem better for my needs than the OM-D E-M1, but the Olympus felt better in the hand. I have read the reviews on the X-T1, and it looks like a fine camera. I am not sure I like the ergonomics of the retro controls, but otherwise it looks good. A K-3 if far less expensive than the other options!

Any advice on how to make the decision considering I cannot get my hands on a K-3?
The K-3 really packs a punch for its size. It's slightly heavier than a K-5, but still smaller than a D7100. I think you'll like it!

B&H is great with returns and if you have any other questions for them, see the Ask B&H section on our forum

Adam
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12-10-2014, 09:22 PM   #6
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The K-3 is smaller than the D7100 and just bit bigger than the E-M1 and the X-T1 bodies.
12-10-2014, 10:23 PM   #7
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Good Evening and Welcome to the Forum!!!!

The only time I was able to hold the Pentax body before purchase, was almost 10 years ago with the K100D. Otherwise, I just ordered the K20, K5 and 10 days ago the K5IIs, sight unseen/untouched. I have had no worries, and no problems. I do get the Pentax extended warranty for $20 that takes the coverage from 1 year to 3 years in length.

I have been at Philmont several times, back in [you really don't want to know - before the Tooth of Time]. I used my dad's film Kodak 35mm with a 50mm lens. It was smaller and lighter than today's bodies. Personally, there are weight and size are issues, so I would limit myself to the body and the 18-135WR lens, with an extra 2 batteries (3 total), and 2 64GB SD cards. That's it. That will be good for 1800 to 2000 shots. I would also turn off the rear screen in order to extend the battery life. You could squeeze 2K shots on a single SD card (in RAW), but they are light and you will have a spare in case of a failure. The 50-300WR lens would be a luxury - and do you really want to carry the weight? Also, the Pentax OEM batteries have a longer life that the 3rd party ones.

The body - I think that the K5IIs would be perfect. Size and weight count a lot when you are carrying everything. The Rocky Mountain Canaries will carry the tents, cooking gear and the food. You will be carrying everything else - and there are no Sherpas. The K3 is a tad larger. Here is a visual size comparison.Hope that helps - have a good time....
______________________________

Then again, for the ultimate in size and weight - there is the Q-S1...
______________________________

One more idea that might be worth the weight. A very small light tripod (Gorillapod or something similar) with the 1oz IR remote. This way, you will not be the guy that goes missing in all the images. A second thought, is that there are going to be some wonderful low light (and I don't mean high ISO) shots in the evening and at night. Moon lit shots of the Sangre de Cristo's is usually something that you probably can't get at home.


Last edited by interested_observer; 12-11-2014 at 04:39 AM.
12-10-2014, 10:33 PM   #8
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I ended up purchasing 2 K-3's the first about a year ago. My only other "decent" camera was an AE-1 I purchased in Japan in the late 70's so I am not an expert by any means LOL. Very pleased with my choice, I did not go through B&H for the first one but wish I had and gotten the extended warranty. I have purchased from them since and highly recommend them.

I have used the K-3 in what many would call extreme circumstances and it has been stellar. I've ended up with several decent lenses most DA* for WR properties. But when I am in a situation where not sure what I will need for a lens and want to stay compact the 18-135 does the job. It does seem to do best with good lighting but that handicap is more of a Northern situation.

Have to admit that I am far from the best photographer but with the 18-135 on the K-3, at -28F


Use the same setup for bird hunting, with my Wing Works vest the lens fits in my right hand water bottle holder and I use a BlackRapid Sling Strap. It does not interfere with gun mount and don't even know the camera is there most of the time.
Ruff Grouse hunting on the North Shore of Lake Superior


Pheasant Hunting in SD, the light geese were moving South.


Before the weather hit and went downhill the Admiral's Weim on point. Had our limit of phez so had a chance to move in and flush the bird, after I took a shot with the camera.


I can not recommend it enough. I looked at the D7100 also before I purchased the K-3 and feel I made the right choice. Backpacking your going to want to do the same thing I do where you can't find a tree to plug in the battery charger . A couple of extra fully charged batteries is always a good thing.

12-11-2014, 01:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffBurns Quote
Any advice on how to make the decision considering I cannot get my hands on a K-3?
Its christmas ;-) just jump... & order a spare battery. Having a pare should do for two weeks backpacking.
you won't return it unless it is faulty. We just know :-)
12-11-2014, 03:53 AM   #10
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I think you would like the K3. B and H and Adorama both have generous return policies, so I would try it from one of them and see if you like it. I certainly have really enjoyed mine.

Good luck!
12-11-2014, 05:43 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffBurns Quote
I am considering purchasing a K-3, but no retailer near me carries it. That means I will have to order it sight unseen. B&H return policy looks good. Has anyone had any problem making returns?

I do mostly travel photography. My next big trip will be a backpacking trip to Philmont Scout Ranch next summer. It will be 12 days of backpacking with 10 other people who are not there to take pictures. Therefore, my camera needs to be compact, and robust. Battery life will be critical for this trip. An 18-135 lens seems like a good choice. I am currently using a Dimage A3 that has the same equivalent focal length, and find I use the entire range equally.

At my local camera store I looked at the Nikon 7100, and found it is too large. The Fujifilm X-T1and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 are both attractive from the perspective of size and weight. The availability of a weather resistant 18 - 135 lens makes the X-T1 seem better for my needs than the OM-D E-M1, but the Olympus felt better in the hand. I have read the reviews on the X-T1, and it looks like a fine camera. I am not sure I like the ergonomics of the retro controls, but otherwise it looks good. A K-3 if far less expensive than the other options!

Any advice on how to make the decision considering I cannot get my hands on a K-3?
I have the K3 and I think you will love it. Its solid, easy to use but powerful, great image quality, not too large to store. I get most of my lenses and the K3 in a Domke bag that is very light and could hike all day with it. If you are concerned, I would rent one first, with a very good lens (not the kit lens). Depending on the sort of pics you want to take, I would be inclined to start with small limited primes (if money is no object), or with an 16-50 DA zoom or similar. The FA 20-35 gets great reviews and although out of production has some of that Pentax magic. You can get older primes that are small (like the 50mm M 1.7) for not so much money, which to me are easier to carry two or three of these on the K3 than a giant zoom lens. The quality will be better as well. My 2cs. I don't think you will be disappointed with the camera, but think carefully about your lens strategy, you can spend a lot of money switching them out and finding out what suits you, for me that was mainly limited primes, but it has taken a while to get there. If you buy good glass, you can almost always zoom with your feet. ...
12-11-2014, 07:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffBurns Quote
I am considering purchasing a K-3, but no retailer near me carries it. That means I will have to order it sight unseen. B&H return policy looks good. Has anyone had any problem making returns?

[snip]

Any advice on how to make the decision considering I cannot get my hands on a K-3?
I, too, had to buy my K-3 sight unseen-- I ended up buying it through Adorama, which also has a good return policy. If it didn't work out, I knew I could return it, no questions asked. But, I ended up keeping it, so all was well. BTW, I think the ergonomics are great, and the thing feels as solid as a brick. I take it out hiking with me regularly, and it's great knowing that it'll survive dust and water with no problem. I've gotten some great waterfall pictures that way
12-11-2014, 12:34 PM   #13
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I bought both my K-5 and K-3 sight unseen. I love my K-5, the control layout and size is just about perfect, much better than Nikon's mid-level bodies. I haven't received my K-3 yet but it was ordered from B&H this week. A friend of mine has the DA 18-135 and although I have never used it, I have seen his pics and it seems like a solid performer considering the price and size/weight. I chose to go with the pair of DA* 16-50 and 50-135 which makes a decent travel package.

You might also want to consider getting the battery grip as it will let you have an additional battery. It does add a bit to the size and weight, but the handling of the camera is just better with the grip and you will get at least 1000 shots on two fully charged batteries, provided you are not chimping everything you shoot.
12-11-2014, 06:52 PM   #14
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Thanks to everyone for the input. Sounds like it would be safe to just place an order. If I get a big surprise a return will not be a problem.

There was one suggestion for K-5IIs. I thought about it, but with the current kit pricing the K-3 seems the better deal.

Alternatives to the 18 - 135 lens: I have thought about this, and keep coming back back to the 18 -135. The first camera I purchased was a Nikon FG. I remember standing in the store trying to decide on lenses. The choice was between a two lens Sigma kit, and the Nikkor 35 - 105. I decided on the Sigma, and never liked the lenses. The quality was the biggest problem, but I also found the split between the lenses around 65 mm a pain. It seemed I was always needing to swap lenses. Years later I purchased the Nikkor 35 - 105 used, and found it to be a great travel lens. About the same time I was given a Nikkor 50mm 1.4. Theoretically, it was a great lens, but I very rarely bothered to carry it. I inherited a Leica CL and found it to be a nice little camera with its 40 mm lens. I had the 90 mm lens for it, but almost never used it. When the Nikon FG died I moved to digital with the Dimage A3. The 28 - 200 focal range has been good.

If the 18-130 turns out to be like the Sigma lenses I had for my Nikon FG I would be looking for better glass fairly quickly. If it is as good as the Nikkor 35-105 I will find it hard to justify more lenses. The DA 20-40 mm has made me wonder if the extra image quality, and speed, would be worth the tradeoff in focal length.

Thanks for the input.
12-11-2014, 09:35 PM   #15
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I had an A series lens (not autofocus) which was a 35-105 plus macro. It's one of those "old Pentax" lenses that has very nice rendering. It's a bit clunky compared to a $1000 top zoom, but the quality is very good, and you can get one on ebay for around $100 bucks. I found the range very nice, but ended up moving towards primes for most of my shorter range work. The A series onwards is pretty nice if you don't mind manual focus, some great deals to be had.
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