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08-28-2015, 12:09 PM   #1
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The power of perspective: My New K3ii and Thoughts on Mirrors

In experimenting with my new K3ii, I immediately felt worried by the ginormous sound of the mirror. Oh no! says I. Have I got something bad here? Quickly, I ran to get my K50, remembering that I never heard a sound like THAT out of my trusty little 50.

With all the precision of a scientific experiment, I set them side by side, mounted similar lenses, gave them identical exposure settings, then methodically set about comparing the sounds of shutter and mirror at increasing shutter speeds. I even switched the lenses to eliminate confounding lens factors. I'll nail this devil, I thought.

What did I find? It turns out my adored K50 has a louder shutter, louder mirror, louder/slower autofocus... Well, I'll stop there. My heart rate began to normalize as I confirmed that my new purchase was not, indeed, majorly flawed. And I was even newly impressed with the snappy AF and the general responsiveness of this new version of the K3. I am -- barring anything I haven't discovered yet -- very impressed with this camera. It is, in a word, substantial. For those K50 or 30 owners wondering if there is a big difference in the K3, the answer is yes. Yes, there is. I even prefer the feel in my hand... and I am very fond of that in my K50, so that's saying something. As for image performance, I'll be sampling IQ with my lenses sometime next month and will be happy to share the results here.

But why did the mirror sound so thunderously loud to me at the start? And now, my K50 even worse??

I had a lightbulb moment and the mystery suddenly became clear. I'd been traveling with my Sony RX100iii and photographing extensively with it these past two months. I'm red-in-the-face embarrassed to realize that I'd gotten so used to the silence of a mirrorless camera, that I'd completely forgotten what a not-silent mirror sounds like. I've been shooting for 40 years and I'm shocked to see how easy it is to trick the brain into expecting something else.

Or, maybe I just have a lousy memory. Either way, it made me think of the future of mirrorless cameras for us stealthy types who like to sneak up on wildlife.

08-28-2015, 02:51 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
But why did the mirror sound so thunderously loud to me at the start? And now, my K50 even worse??
The K-50 is pretty loud, while the K-3 is Pentax's quietest DSLR to date. It's a big jump for sure!

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08-28-2015, 03:43 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
the silence of a mirrorless camera
Point and shoots like the RX-100 are not what people usually refer to as mirrorless. It's not a good example.

Mirrorless APS-C or FF cameras certainly aren't always quiet - ask any Sony NEX or Alpha 7 user. Even if they lack mirrors, all the NEX's I've ever used (NEX-5, NEX-F3, A5000 for example) have shutters that are much louder and more intrusive than the K-5/K-3 shutter.
08-28-2015, 04:33 PM   #4
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I believe the Sony A7, or maybe A7r, has a reputation for a very loud shutter, which was improved on the Mark II version.

Some (but not all) mirrorless cameras support an electronic shutter option, which can be as quiet as a compact. But even on those cameras, mechanical shutters remain the primary shutter mechanism, due to readout speeds on larger CMOS sensors.

08-28-2015, 04:35 PM   #5
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Nice!
I use the K-01 a lot, so there is no mirror sound, but there is still the shutter sound - and worse yet, the sound of aperture blades. On many lenses, this sound is fairly loud. So I guess this is the next thing Pentax can work on. Quiet AF is great, but quiet mirror and aperture blades would be nice, as well
08-29-2015, 01:23 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
Some (but not all) mirrorless cameras support an electronic shutter option, which can be as quiet as a compact
but there are issues with image artifacts and distortions with electronic shutters.
08-29-2015, 05:52 AM   #7
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I really hope the mirror problem has been addressed. Actually, that's why I waited for the K-3II and it's coming this mid September. You guys should stop scaring me.
08-29-2015, 10:40 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by totsmuyco Quote
I really hope the mirror problem has been addressed. Actually, that's why I waited for the K-3II and it's coming this mid September. You guys should stop scaring me.
Don't be scared, Totsmuyco. My new K3ii is as quiet as a mouse. You'll love it!

08-29-2015, 09:47 PM   #9
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I'm sure I will love it if it doesn't conk out on me. I already love my k-5II. Actually, I'm really excited to get my hands on it.
08-29-2015, 10:40 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Electronic Shutter Distortions

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
but there are issues with image artifacts and distortions with electronic shutters.
I totally agree.

A couple of weeks ago I took photos at the USA Barefoot Waterskiing Championships in western Wisconsin. I brought along two camera systems.

First, I shot my Nikon D7100 at its' fastest speed (1/8,000th) using its' mechanical shutter. I got over 200 super sharp "keeper" images (see below).

I also took about the same number of photos using my Fuji X-T1 camera. I was so excited to use this camera because it has combination mechanical and an electronic shutter. I shot the electronic shutter at crazy fast shutter speeds (1/24,000 and faster). The Fuji images looked fine on when viewed on the back of the tiny camera. But when I viewed these hundreds of images on my computer screen, all of the skiiers were so terribly distorted that they looked like alien beings from another planet. I did not have a single image from the Fuji with using its' electronic shutter that was worth keeping.

I certainly hope that Pentax does not waste their time and resources putting an electronic shutter into the new full frame camera. I sure will not be using it if they do.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 09-13-2015 at 04:01 PM.
08-30-2015, 12:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
all of the skiiers were so terribly distorted that they looked like alien beings from another planet
An example of this would be fun to see.
08-30-2015, 10:12 AM   #12
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All examples were deleted

QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
An example of this would be fun to see.
I spent a couple of days editing all of my waterski photos a couple of weeks ago. All of those shot with the electronic shutter were deleted. Wish I would have kept one to show everyone.

I understand that this is commonly called "the rolling shutter" effect. I had heard of it being a bad thing for video, but I was not previously aware of this effect when shooting stills.

I was so disappointed with loosing all of these nice images due to the electronic shutter that I went ahead and sold my Fuji X-T1 camera. Now I've been told by photographers who know more than I do that this "rolling shutter" problem is common to all electronic shutters. With one exception, I hear that the new Sony cameras indeed do have a new version of a sensor that IS fast enough to properly capture a still image (and video too of course) with the electronic shutter at super high speeds with virtually no rolling shutter distortion. Now that's cool!

I don't care to use an electronic shutter's super fast speeds just to capture images of still objects. If Fuji's future high end cameras can do what the new Sony cameras can do, just imagine the possibilities of using super fast electronic shutter speeds to capture fast moving objects!
08-30-2015, 05:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
I hear that the new Sony cameras indeed do have a new version of a sensor that IS fast enough to properly capture a still image
The new sony cameras still suffer from the rolling shutter effect though, the Electronic "curtains" move at 12m/s
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