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08-25-2015, 04:44 PM   #1
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K-3 or K-3 II

I would like some help.

I am planing on buying a new camera. I have own K-r for past 3.5 years and I am ready to upgrade. I do not know if I should buy K-3 or K-3 II. First thing is that I do not need built-in flash, and alleged improvements over K-3 particularly in AF are making me think K-3 II is better camera. In addition, I do a lot of studio work for stock and pixel shift would definitely come in handy. Also, from time to time I go camping and like to shoot stars. And with my current K-r I really can't shoot stars in normal fashion. But here comes the problem. I have been reading DxO mark measurements and I can't figure out why K-3 II scored worse than K-3? Shouldn't they have identical sensors? I plan on using the camera for concerts and night clubs, and I would really like a camera that will handle decently at around ISO3200 and also have a good working AF. K-r has tremendous problems with focusing when using Sigma 17-50 f2.8, practically unusable. Kit lens for instance focus right, and I have tried everything and spent many hours to achieve that when using Sigma but with no luck. Only AF that produces good results is in LV.
In addition I would like a camera to be excellent in landscape and still photography on minimum ISO.

Pentax K-3 versus Sony A6000 versus Pentax K-3 II - Side by side camera comparison - DxOMark
(a6000 is in comparison for no apparent reason, I have used that camera a few times)

so:
  1. Does K-3 II have superior AF over K-3 and if so by how much?
  2. Does K-3 have better image quality (especially high ISO) over K-3 II and is DxO mark right about that? (I have downloaded numerous RAW samples from both K-3 and K-3 II and couldn't notice anything big)
And another thing


since I plan on buying one of these cameras with 18-55WR so I can have at least one WR lens at my disposal, the dilemma is:
  1. K-3 w 18-55WR costs me around $1070 + $230 for the grip + $245 for GPS module = $1545
  2. K-3 II w 18-55WR costs me $1280 + $230 for the grip = $1510
  3. K-3 Prestige costs me $1310 + $245 for GPS (no 18-55WR but I could manage until I get one + I get one extra battery in prestige) = $1555
  4. I don't have money right now to go FF on Canikon or wait for Pentax FF.
I live in Croatia so give or take a $2-3 on every figure.



I know that this tech talk is not so important, the important thing is to have good photos and be happy. But when buying a new camera, this kind of " d*ck measuring " is inevitable because you want best bang for buck.



Thanks for help

08-25-2015, 04:48 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by zvon Quote
Does K-3 II have superior AF over K-3 and if so by how much?
No. The AF module/hardware is the same. Some minor tweaks have been made to AF-C algorithm but they don't improve speed, just keeper rate for subjects moving toward the camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by zvon Quote
Does K-3 have better image quality (especially high ISO) over K-3 II and is DxO mark right about that? (I have downloaded numerous RAW samples from both K-3 and K-3 II and couldn't notice anything big)
Sample variation IMO. The IQ is identical.

Unless you'd make frequent use of the GPS feature, I'd stick with the original K-3.

Adam
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08-25-2015, 04:58 PM   #3
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My only reason for considering the K-3II is for the GPS function. I currently tag my pictures using a GPS track from my Garmin and my computer. I'd love a built in solution. The pixel shift hasn't shown me enough. I'd love to be able to say it's a worthwhile feature, but resolution on my K-3 is already over the top for most purposes including aggressive cropping.
08-25-2015, 05:42 PM   #4
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If you would use the GPS more than the built in flash go with the k-3II. No down sides and some improvements. Built in GPS is awesome, just love it. Just press the button and you have embedded location. The hot shoe GPS is OK, but has to be mounted, you have to make sure the batteries are charged, different batteries to carry and it is much slower to lock on location than the built in one in the K-3II. Not sure what the difference is but I have used both an built-in is much faster.

As to IQ, I agree with Adam, I have k-3 and k-3II and cannot tell any difference.

I have not yet used the pixel shift feature, not sure I will, the sensor already provides an enormous amount of resolution.

08-25-2015, 06:17 PM   #5
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Any deals with the 18-135 kit lens? I understand the 18-55 would just be for outdoor use, but the 18-135 really is worth the extra money. Particularly at 18mm, which is where the 18-55 gets very soft edges and colour fringing shows up on high contrast areas, like branches or white buildings. Beyond 100mm is a bit weaker, but good enough for casual use - consider it "bonus" zoom range.

I bought the K-3 with the 18-135 kit. While I could go back to using the K-7 for most purposes, I wouldn't go back to the 18-55.
I would even go so far as to say, get an 18-135 or 16-85 now and wait for the price of K-3 / K-3ii to fall to where you can afford it.
08-25-2015, 07:29 PM   #6
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K-3II and 18-135 WR would be more versatile. I have an earlier version of the 18-55 (AL II) and it does well, but I have opted for an 18-300 zoom for versatility. I am not sure what your budget is, but in the U.S. the 18-135 WR is approx. 371 dollars, and the K3II is approx. 841 dollars (total for combo approx. 1212 dollars).
08-25-2015, 08:33 PM   #7
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Based on what you say is important to you (OP) the K3ii is the way to go. No one who owns both has found any IQ drop from the K3ii and no one has shown loss of high ISO performance. I think you will find either will work but the extra resolution in studio with the Pixel Shift and the built in GPS seem like they would work well for you.

To be fair I have a K3 and have not shot the K3ii. I can only express what I have read in that respect. I need an onboard flash - you don't. I don't shoot stars right now - you do.
08-26-2015, 01:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by zvon Quote
I do a lot of studio work for stock and pixel shift would definitely come in handy. Also, from time to time I go camping and like to shoot stars.
you have your answer here ^^
and give the sigma 17-50 f2.8 a chance with the new body before buying another kit lens, the sigma is a stellar lens

08-26-2015, 02:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Any deals with the 18-135 kit lens? I understand the 18-55 would just be for outdoor use, but the 18-135 really is worth the extra money. Particularly at 18mm, which is where the 18-55 gets very soft edges and colour fringing shows up on high contrast areas, like branches or white buildings. Beyond 100mm is a bit weaker, but good enough for casual use - consider it "bonus" zoom range.
K-3 18-135 bundle costs $1340 and K-3 II $1520 that's a bit over my budget since I am buying a grip also and don't find myself in need of that zoom range.

QuoteOriginally posted by redcat Quote
you have your answer here ^^ and give the sigma 17-50 f2.8 a chance with the new body before buying another kit lens, the sigma is a stellar lens
don't get me wrong, I want a WR kit just to have one so I dont kill my Sigma in rain. 17-50 on my K-r produces excellent results if I manually focus using LV. I think that I have exploited the possibilites of K-r and it is time to upgrade. I don't plan on not using my Sigma It would be pretty stupid to do that Sigma will be mounted pretty much 90% of the time.


My first cohice was K-3 II with 18-55WR. But that DxO post really threw me off. And since all of you say that that is wrong (and I thought so). Only problem I can think of is that Pixel shift, which would upgrade my studio still shots many times, does not work with flash. Do you think that if I set my flashes to high frequency strobing throughout entire 4shot creation period that every of 4 shots will be flash illuminated and produce normal result? That is the first work-around idea I had that does not involve continuous lighting.

If I can get my store to lower the price of basic K-3, I will probably buy one. Otherwise I will go for K-3 II.
08-26-2015, 04:05 AM   #10
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One thing missing from the K-3 II is obviously the flash. In addition, the ability to trigger an off-camera flash wirelessly. With the K3, the onboard flash can trigger a suitable flash wirelessly, albeit not the best solution. However, to achieve the same for the K-3 II, you need to either purchase two flashes AF360 or better, or else purchase radio-triggers which will mean you are unlikely to have pTTL.

Having said all that, if you were into flash photography, you would not be likely to use the optical-wireless Pentax offering.

What I am alluding to is that the ability to trigger an off-camera flash has become more expensive and more complex with the K-3 II.

I would very much like to have retained the on-board flash purely as a simple pTTL commander to trigger my (pTTL compatible) Metz.....but the GPS is attractive!
08-26-2015, 06:11 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timd Quote
One thing missing from the K-3 II is obviously the flash. In addition, the ability to trigger an off-camera flash wirelessly. With the K3, the onboard flash can trigger a suitable flash wirelessly, albeit not the best solution. However, to achieve the same for the K-3 II, you need to either purchase two flashes AF360 or better, or else purchase radio-triggers which will mean you are unlikely to have pTTL.

Having said all that, if you were into flash photography, you would not be likely to use the optical-wireless Pentax offering.

What I am alluding to is that the ability to trigger an off-camera flash has become more expensive and more complex with the K-3 II.

I would very much like to have retained the on-board flash purely as a simple pTTL commander to trigger my (pTTL compatible) Metz.....but the GPS is attractive!
I use yongnuo yn560tx trigger and yn560III flashes, and also, when doing studio work with flashes, having pTTL is really not an option. Manual is the way to go. And even if I find myself in need of a pTTL flash, I can always purcashe small and compact AF201 FG flash that will compensate the lack of built-in flash.
08-26-2015, 06:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by zvon Quote
And even if I find myself in need of a pTTL flash, I can always purcashe small and compact AF201 FG flash that will compensate the lack of built-in flash.
Only if you don't want to control a remote flash. The pTTL features of the 201 are only for itself - it doesn't have the ability to function as a wireless master or wireless controller. I have yet to understand the logic behind that decision. If the 201 included the full suite of P-TTL control functions it would be a full replacement - no worse than buying the GPS add on for the K3. As it is the 201 is crippled - like the KS2 vs the K50 from a flash control perspective.

Personally I would look at an older flash maybe the AF201Sa - cheap and small with an auto thyristor mode. (Disclaimer - I haven't checked trigger voltages yet on that one so don't rush out and grab one based on this! )
08-26-2015, 06:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Only if you don't want to control a remote flash. The pTTL features of the 201 are only for itself - it doesn't have the ability to function as a wireless master or wireless controller. I have yet to understand the logic behind that decision. If the 201 included the full suite of P-TTL control functions it would be a full replacement - no worse than buying the GPS add on for the K3. As it is the 201 is crippled - like the KS2 vs the K50 from a flash control perspective.

Personally I would look at an older flash maybe the AF201Sa - cheap and small with an auto thyristor mode. (Disclaimer - I haven't checked trigger voltages yet on that one so don't rush out and grab one based on this! )

I know. Thing is that I do not control flashes using pTTL system. I have 3rd party trigger and flashes for wireless flash photography. So the lack of that in K-3 II is not a variable in my case. I would buy AF201 FG only if I ever find myself to need automatic flash.
08-26-2015, 07:04 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by zvon Quote
I have been reading DxO mark measurements and I can't figure out why K-3 II scored worse than K-3? Shouldn't they have identical sensors?
See Use Case Scores - DxOMark, where they give low end thresholds of where measured differences will be noticeable. The differences between the two on DXO could be sample variation or measurement error, but in any case are virtually identical scores when it comes to using the camera (and in any case less important than real world samples).
08-27-2015, 07:01 AM - 1 Like   #15
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For me, the GPS feature was well worth the upgrade alone, because of the thick forest where I do most of my photography. But if you travel, I could see the GPS being just as useful. Have used the Astrotracer feature a couple times with good results. Just as Norm wrote, pixel shift doesn't seem to be a big improvement, but need to try it with my DFA100, macro may make a difference.

Overall, I'm very happy with the K3II, my K3 has been promoted to full time backup now.

BTW: don't miss not having a onboard flash at all, which I never used anyway.

Last edited by longbow; 08-27-2015 at 07:21 AM.
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