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08-14-2015, 04:32 PM   #1
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My über-brief K-3 II review

This is a quick rundown of my opinions of the camera with a list of pros and cons.

I cover lot's of wedding so most of this revolves around the way I use the camera, and not so much about every single thing the camera features.

I previously used K-30's - I had intended to buy K-5, but kept experiencing bad focusing issue with several bodies.

I've shot 7 weddings since I got K-3 II - just to put things a bit in perspective. Body 1 is at some 14k exposures and body 2 at some 8k exposures.

Pro's:
- Pro feeling
Doesn't really matter too much but hey :P

- Silent shutter
- Large buffer
- Fast burst-rate
- Dual SD card slot

- 1/8000 shutterspeed
Especially now that I have a f1.8 zoom as my workhorse lens

- Mode dial lock
Very nice!

- 24MP
Perceptually sharper image and less noise - I even apply less sharpening in post now

- GPS
Though I haven't used it much

- Lacking flash
Yes, it's a plus as I no longer can accidentally make it pop up.

- Size
Still small enough to carry around on everyday basis.

- 14bit RAW/Dynamic range
What can I say. Coming from K-30 it's yum yum yum!

- Shake Reduction
I've read so-so comments about SR and in my experience, the improvement is huge. I rely a lot on my 70-200 but it's the first lens to go, as there will at some point be too little light, and with slower shutterspeeds, handholding a tele is very tricky. Apparently no longer. I've been doing sub 1/100 shots and had tack sharp photos at 100+ mm.

- Low light focusing
Another reason I've been able to keep using the 70-200 is the lower light focusing capabilities. Before, the micro shakes would be too severe and the poorer ability to lock in low light would cause it to be very slow - but no longer

- Larger viewfinder
Not only is it larger, but even though I wear glasses, I can see all edges and corners without having to move from side to side, up and down. Not being able to do so with the K-30 was very frustrating as I often got a compositions wrong even though I thought they were OK.

- User modes
User modes actually remembers exposure settings. K-30 doesn't do that and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the K-5 did either.


Con's:
- Thumb rest-pad
I suspected it would cause problem the very first time I held the camera, and sure enough, after having used the camera for less than 2 months, I have a blister on my thumb

- Buttons
I generally prefer lot's and lot's of buttons but I've had a hard time getting used to them:
AF mode and switch are "OK" but I prefer the K-30 switch. It's way faster.
AF lock is super weird for me. Often I find myself having to keep the camera few cm further away from me when shooting in portrait mode.
ISO/Green button - I'm getting there, but I used the green button a lot on the K-30 and now it's not where I was used to have it

- Top display
I don't use it, but I think chances for using it would be greater if it would show exactly which AF point I have selected. It also does not tell me if I'm in selective AF mode or not

- Back display
Slightly laggy compared to K-30 - this is mostly noticeable when trying to change between different display modes. It can be laggy enough to sometimes confuse and irritate me.

- Focus point overlay in viewfinder
I really find this to be a joke. It's often very hard to notice and there have been times where I tried to really look for it, but couldn't find it because it's smaller and/or dimmer. I never had that problem with K-30

- Previews
Panning while previewing is much slower than K-30. Feel's like I was used to a Ferrari and now got me a sloppy family car. Changing shooting format, image size and compression does not affect this

- Too many AF points
Yeah, I said it. An option to decrease the amount would have been very nice. I often need to compose fast so it's helps to get the AF in the right ball-park. That's typically center or corner points. Now, I have to click more times which takes longer and increases chances to miss shots

- Ergonomics
I slightly touched this but a quick round up:
Thumb pad = blister on thumb
Lower right corner (back side) = very sore thumb muscle
Lower right corner (front side) = blister on my palm
Grip just below the front dial = blister on middle finger in progress

None of above would be any problem if I shot now and then, but with hours and hours of shooting, the k-3 II is seriously messing up my hand. K-30 wasn't perfect, but I've been shooting with K-30 for 2 years and had less problems

- Focusing
I have two K-3 II bodies:

The first fails especially when trying to focus at stuff far away. This is true across several lenses

The second body is better and gets closer. The AF on my K-30 bodies got worse over time for whatever reason, but I'd bet they were more accurate than these K-3 II's, when I first got them

Because of this I've been relying *a lot* on liveview, but I simply can't keep doing that.

- Lens compatibility?
I'm not sure what exactly this is, but the 70-200 no longer works as it used to. When the camera introduces focus double-check, the lens goes way out of focus before going back into focus again. In practical terms it means It can take much longer to get a lock - if I use AF.C and FPS priority, then this double-check thingy gets completely out of control and is not useful at all. I have not noticed this behavior on other lenses

- Soft lock-up
Lens wont focus but camera appears to be functional. On/off solves the issue

- Hard lock-up
Camera is still on but I can't do anything. Need to replace the battery before it will function again

- Mirror flapping

- High ISO
At higher ISO's the noise starts to look very artificial


Conclusion:
I need gloves and/or batterygrip and will then hopefully be fine. The focusing accuracy is a different matter and I no longer trust repairshops due to past experiences. I will none the less send it in anyways and hope they won't worsen the AF accuracy, which has happened before (K-5).

Beside that, the K-3 II is a fine camera and it's mostly or only because I really work hard at weddings, that I'm having ergonomic problems.

In all fairness I must add, that I've been using Sigma 18-35 which is way heavier than Sigma 17-50 that I used to use.


Last edited by Zafar Iqbal; 08-18-2015 at 03:36 PM.
08-14-2015, 04:46 PM   #2
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Sounds like you aren't getting much use out of the things that were added to the K-3 II (compared to the K-3)!

Adam
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08-14-2015, 05:05 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Sounds like this needs to be in the DSLR discussion, not the Lens forums!
08-14-2015, 05:43 PM   #4
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You have my attention.

What do you mean by your observation:

QuoteOriginally posted by Zafar Iqbal Quote
- High ISO At higher ISO's the noise starts to look very artificial
How high an ISO and can you post a sample?

Ta

08-14-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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Great review, thanks for sharing your personal impressions.
08-14-2015, 08:55 PM   #6
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Do you have Sigma 70-200 F 2.8? Reason, I've sent mine to C.R.I.S. to apply firmware update to the lens, cause it wont focus between 70-76 on K3 II body. Sigma is aware of that and there is a firmware upgrade
08-15-2015, 05:35 AM   #7
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Wups, sorry about posting in the wrong section.

Adam: The claimed improved AF was my main reason for going for the K-3 II. Improved SR sealed the deal. Any other differences are, at the end of the day, irrelevant. GPS would be nice for some parts during a wedding, but is mostly interesting on everyday basis, however it causes the camera to lock-up. I used it during one wedding and cam locked- up. Won't be trying again until I have that issue fixed.

John: I haven't looked too much for it to know where the borderline is, but when I use higher ISO (3200+), I pretty much always pull darks even on otherwise well exposed shots, as these gets crunched fast - it's especially when doing this, that the phenomenon shows:

K-3 II ISO 25600 - black level lifted by +40 in Lightroom


K-30 ISO 25600 - black level lifted by +100 in Lightroom


I pulled the blacks from K-30 shot more just to make it clearer that the noise, IMO, looks better, while the pull at 40 is closer to how I would normally process.

I've also noticed things looking different, kind of pixelated, at very low ISO, when processing - I only looked quick and didn't find something I could show as an example. Perhaps it's the lack of AA filter that I'm seeing in these cases but none the less, didn't look too good to me.

vladfrankel: I'm using Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM Macro. I wasn't aware this lens could be firmware upgraded. Can you confirm?
08-15-2015, 12:54 PM   #8
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Yes, mine is HSM II, and Sigma shops are upgrading firmware on those... Again, mine was specific issue with inability to focus on 70-76 range, but only on K3 II body, my friend's K3 haven't had those issues....Similar lens I own 50-150 F 2.8 from Sigma didnt have this issue. I have contacted C.R.I.S. - which is closest Sigma certified shop to my location and they have confirmed that Sigma is aware of the problem and there Is a firmware upgrade available. After applying it, all problems went away...so I'd recommend you to talk to those guys first.

There are 3 Sigma shops in US, C.R.I.S. is closest to my location...and I could only praise their service - simply AWESOME....
Here is the list of all locations:
Service & Support | Sigma Corporation of America

And Specific to C.R.I.S.

https://www.criscam.com/
Get quote here: Sigma Lens Repair | C.R.I.S.
Email Customer Service: customerservice@criscam.com
They are in Arizona

Good luck.

Sincerely
Vladimir Frenkel

08-15-2015, 05:44 PM   #9
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vladfrankel: Thanks a lot, I'll give it a try.

Few pointers I forgot about: One I got so used to that I didn't think of it and the other is something I was pondering about and just learned.

I'll mention them here but also add them to the first first.

Pro's:
- Larger viewfinder
Not only is it larger, but even though I wear glasses, I can see all edges and corners without having to move from side to side, up and down. Not being able to do so with the K-30 was very frustrating as I often got a compositions wrong even though I thought they were OK.

- User modes
User modes actually remembers exposure settings. K-30 doesn't do that and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the K-5 did either.

One of the reason's I didn't try user modes or other features before is because I've had a really hard time getting use to the camera. Mainly the placement and function of the different buttons. It was of more interest to me, that I could fluidly adjust exposures, pick the wanted AF point and snap a shot, rather than digging into all features.
08-18-2015, 12:01 PM   #10
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I'am quite surprized by the AF issue you have.
08-18-2015, 03:29 PM   #11
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Yeh, and at some point I'll have to turn them in for probably something like 3-5 weeks
08-18-2015, 04:43 PM   #12
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Excellent and detailed write-up. Ergonomic problems eh? I'd say if you you're at 14k shots after 7 assignments, you could stand to take a bit more time between shots, bru. That's a mind-numbing number of frames (not counting the more-than-half that number on your other body!)
08-18-2015, 05:29 PM   #13
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I hear what you are saying, but I do not just blindly shoot or burst fire for long duration's.

My main thing is to do candid type photos and to capture moments, but it's damn tricky to get the right expressions when people are talking, laughing or whatever.
08-18-2015, 11:13 PM - 1 Like   #14
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That's 2000 shoots per assigment, that's not that much counting he has to cover a whole wedding each time with often more than one hundred people and you'll want at least a few picture of each of them and much more of the key protagonists. More he need to have to have the best shoot possible so that mean he is going to shoot quite a lot... Beside he is a pro, he only has that to do at the wedding in the end.
08-19-2015, 12:04 AM   #15
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- Previews
Panning while previewing is much slower than K-30. Feel's like I was used to a Ferrari and now got me a sloppy family car. Changing shooting format, image size and compression does not affect this


Maybe CA and distortion correction is "switch on". K-5/II works in the same way if not to switch it off.
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