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09-26-2015, 05:07 PM   #1
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K-3 vs K-5 II write speed

The K-5 II seems a little sluggish on writing memory to the card after the buffer fills when shooting burst RAWs.

The camera hangs and I see the red light indicating the camera is writing to the card. Meanwhile I'm looking around hoping nothing happens that I want to photograph while my camera takes it's sweet time getting itself together. Seems to take around 30 seconds to process.. which is a long time when you're in a fast action environment.

Does the K-3 do this? For reference I'm using a Sandisk Extreme UHS I 45 mB/s card.

Actually, would the newer 95 MB/s cards clear this up with my current body? Even more so with the K-3 or K-3 II?

09-26-2015, 05:14 PM - 1 Like   #2
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There was a thread a while back with write times posted. I'll see if I can find it but I think the conclusion was that the k-3 would max out a 45mbs card but that the k-5 would not.

---------- Post added 09-26-15 at 05:19 PM ----------

Try: Pentax K-3 Review - Performance and Burst Mode | PentaxForums.com Reviews
or: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/241929-fastest-sdhc-k-3-can-handle.html

Not sure those are conclusive but the best info I could find.
09-26-2015, 05:51 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
The K-5 II seems a little sluggish on writing memory to the card after the buffer fills when shooting burst RAWs.

The camera hangs and I see the red light indicating the camera is writing to the card. Meanwhile I'm looking around hoping nothing happens that I want to photograph while my camera takes it's sweet time getting itself together. Seems to take around 30 seconds to process.. which is a long time when you're in a fast action environment.

Does the K-3 do this? For reference I'm using a Sandisk Extreme UHS I 45 mB/s card.

Actually, would the newer 95 MB/s cards clear this up with my current body? Even more so with the K-3 or K-3 II?
The K-3 writes much faster and feels less sluggish overall, though it also has larger files so the apparent difference isn't that big. Read the review linked above, it has some tests with both bodies and different cards

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09-26-2015, 06:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
There was a thread a while back with write times posted. I'll see if I can find it but I think the conclusion was that the k-3 would max out a 45mbs card but that the k-5 would not.

---------- Post added 09-26-15 at 05:19 PM ----------

Try: Pentax K-3 Review - Performance and Burst Mode | PentaxForums.com Reviews
or: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/241929-fastest-sdhc-k-3-can-handle.html

Not sure those are conclusive but the best info I could find.
Thanks that is precisely the type of information for which I was looking!

Sadly it appears the K-3 is much slower!?

K-3 RAW 19s 33s
K-5 II RAW 18s 18s

How is THAT possible?? Does the extra 8 MP really make that big of a difference?

09-26-2015, 09:11 PM   #5
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8mp is 33% larger. Like Adam says the k-3 is faster but not that much faster.
09-26-2015, 09:38 PM   #6
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If it is important that speed be enhanced you could shoot the k3 in 14mp mode.
09-26-2015, 09:39 PM   #7
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But it isn't faster overall.. it takes 15 seconds more to clear buffer over the K-5 II according to that review with the slower card. Even with the faster card it took an extra second more overall. That plane or car or bird isn't going to say 'oh you have 33% more data to write.. I'll wait a bit longer' haha

This is not really an advantage to the burst rate to me.. but it is really good to know in weighting pros vs cons with upgrading.


And now I'm more wondering if the K-5 II number is not accurate for the slower card?

---------- Post added 09-26-15 at 11:39 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
If it is important that speed be enhanced you could shoot the k3 in 14mp mode.
Does that mode function with RAW format? I must look into this later..
09-26-2015, 09:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
But it isn't faster overall.. it takes 15 seconds more to clear buffer over the K-5 II according to that review with the slower card. Even with the faster card it took an extra second more overall. That plane or car or bird isn't going to say 'oh you have 33% more data to write.. I'll wait a bit longer' haha

This is not really an advantage to the burst rate to me.. but it is really good to know in weighting pros vs cons with upgrading.


And now I'm more wondering if the K-5 II number is not accurate for the slower card?

---------- Post added 09-26-15 at 11:39 PM ----------



Does that mode function with RAW format? I must look into this later..
I don't think so. Whoops.

09-27-2015, 02:18 AM   #9
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My personal experience is that the K3 is a lot faster. Must be a 95mb/s card though. Any slower and it will feel like a K5.

I hope some other K3 will confirm my experience to help other prospective K3 users.

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09-27-2015, 02:39 AM   #10
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The K-3 takes advantage of faster cards, the K-5 does not (K-5 speed does not improve with the fastest SD cards). Yes, when the K-3 buffer is full, we have to wait for a while.... BUT we don't need to take 20 shots in a raw to get one good image. It is not effective to saturate overload the camera with miss focused shots. The way to use the burst mode efficiently is either to use M or L mode, or to trigger short bursts and let the AF be on track in between bursts, then you don't need to wait for 15 seconds for the camera to digest 20 bad raws with 80% miss-focused.
09-27-2015, 06:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The K-3 takes advantage of faster cards, the K-5 does not (K-5 speed does not improve with the fastest SD cards). Yes, when the K-3 buffer is full, we have to wait for a while.... BUT we don't need to take 20 shots in a raw to get one good image. It is not effective to saturate overload the camera with miss focused shots. The way to use the burst mode efficiently is either to use M or L mode, or to trigger short bursts and let the AF be on track in between bursts, then you don't need to wait for 15 seconds for the camera to digest 20 bad raws with 80% miss-focused.
I don't get 80% missed focus when rapid firing.. and in some situations this method is necessary.

You are accounting for the weakness of the camera in your method.. but it does tell me a lot about the performance of the camera in clearing a full buffer! Hope the digi FF body does a quicker job.

Thanks, all, for responding thus far.. it is these things that the spec sheet doesn't normally show that makes a difference!
09-27-2015, 06:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
You are accounting for the weakness of the camera in your method.. but it does tell me a lot about the performance of the camera in clearing a full buffer! Hope the digi FF body does a quicker job.
Yes, that's correct, limiting the amount of shots is my workaround. Important: here is my thinking: when the buffer is full, the camera becomes unusable, and... the larger the buffer, the more time you have to wait. Technically speaking this problem can't be avoided because DRAM (volatile) write time is an order of magnitude faster than writing the Flash memory (non-volatile) of any SD card. So, what you describe is not K-3 related, it is a technology bottleneck. Even if you use the fastest available SD card, you'll still hit the data transfer rate bottleneck of the SD cards, and if you'd get a camera with a buffer that can contain 40 raw images, you'd have to wait 60 seconds instead of 30 seconds.

In raw , the K-3 offer you a budget of about 20 shots before the camera locks, so, get your AF on track, take 2 bursts of 5 shots, get your AF on track, then take 2 burst of 5 shots, etc... For info, I have 600x Transcend SD cards and my K-3 takes 15 seconds to empty its buffer.

BTW, could you please explain when you need to take 20 raw shots in a row? Except for making a 4K video out of photos, I don't see how useful it is to have 20 nearly identical shots. Or I apologize if I completely missed your point.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 09-27-2015 at 07:05 AM.
09-27-2015, 08:22 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
BTW, could you please explain when you need to take 20 raw shots in a row? Except for making a 4K video out of photos, I don't see how useful it is to have 20 nearly identical shots. Or I apologize if I completely missed your point.
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09-27-2015, 03:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Yes, that's correct, limiting the amount of shots is my workaround. Important: here is my thinking: when the buffer is full, the camera becomes unusable, and... the larger the buffer, the more time you have to wait. Technically speaking this problem can't be avoided because DRAM (volatile) write time is an order of magnitude faster than writing the Flash memory (non-volatile) of any SD card. So, what you describe is not K-3 related, it is a technology bottleneck. Even if you use the fastest available SD card, you'll still hit the data transfer rate bottleneck of the SD cards, and if you'd get a camera with a buffer that can contain 40 raw images, you'd have to wait 60 seconds instead of 30 seconds.

In raw , the K-3 offer you a budget of about 20 shots before the camera locks, so, get your AF on track, take 2 bursts of 5 shots, get your AF on track, then take 2 burst of 5 shots, etc... For info, I have 600x Transcend SD cards and my K-3 takes 15 seconds to empty its buffer.

BTW, could you please explain when you need to take 20 raw shots in a row? Except for making a 4K video out of photos, I don't see how useful it is to have 20 nearly identical shots. Or I apologize if I completely missed your point.
It could be resolved internally though hidden buffers and/or asynchronous writing to the cards I'd suspect.. but this is neither here nor there since it isn't doing that.

I don't want to get into the details of explaining to you my purposes because then you'll make it into a debate. And I was just looking for information in order to make (or not make) a potential purchase in the future. But the question appears to be answered so thank you for the information!
09-27-2015, 06:29 PM   #15
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With a good card like the extreme pro the K3 rarely makes you wait, whereas the K5 was slow. This is in use where 5 to 10 shot bursts, with the odd buffer filling 20 plus bursts. If I remember correctly the K5 will still completely where the K3 will take shots as the buffer clears a space.

Cards slow down as they fill, and if they are not formatted regularly, and as they age the dodgy sectors need to be routed around. The K3 buffer files faster with larger image files and clears about the same.

Imaging resource says 31 secs for 22 raw k5, 24 secs for 24 k3 raw.
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