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02-10-2017, 06:35 PM   #1
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Did I miss something about my new K3 II

I have had a K-5 for about four years now and gotten some awesome pictures out of it. Recently I got a K-3 II (I have a bunch of great APS-C Glass and don't want to go for the K-1 yet) and it just doesn't seem all that much of an upgrade, the autofocus and IQ are at both seem at best marginally better. I like the GPS as that is something I use. But that brings up the question, is there something about the K-3 II I am missing?

02-10-2017, 06:37 PM   #2
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Might seem trivial, but are you shooting in raw?

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02-10-2017, 06:41 PM   #3
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I never had the K-5. I started with a K100D and then a K-50 which supposedly had improved AF over the K-5. The K-3 I have is improved over the K-50 but it is subtle not a slap in the face type improvement. The major improvement I see is low light focus lock.

Also while the K-3 seems surer at focusing the SDM lenses I have are still a bit slow. The screw drive lenses seem the most improved likely not due to any "motor" difference but due to a faster focusing decision making system. I don't know if that's any help to you.

As for the K-3II - I'd love to try some Pixel Shift but that's really best with non-moving scenes which may not be your cup of tea.
02-10-2017, 07:01 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Interesting observation. Most K-3/3II owners that used to own a K-5/5II/5IIs say that the AF is much improved over those older bodies.

The new KP supposedly has better AF algorithms than the current K-3/3II.

If Pentax does indeed release a new APS-C flagship within the next few months, my guess is that it will have a newly developed AF system or similar SAFOX 12 that the K-1 has.

02-10-2017, 07:41 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Welcome to the forum.

I had a choice to make between the two (K3 vs K3II) and, according to some users' reviews, I decided that the flash was needed but not the GPS/pixel shift. So ... K3 it was.
Better indeed for some features vs the K5 series but certainly not in the high ISO department.
Most reviews reported "some" IQ increased performance but not enough to steer my choice to the K3II.

All in all, I suppose we are all waiting for a next APS-C flagship which "should" include features found in the K-1 and KP ... guessing.

02-10-2017, 08:22 PM   #6

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It's not surprising that you find the K-3ii to only be a minor upgrade to the K-5; the K-5 was a really good camera, maybe the best when it was released. The K-3ii adds:

Higher resolution: Only noticeable if you crop or print very large.
Better autofocus: This mostly comes into play for action like sports and birding. The AF is also improved in low light and at wide apertures.
Faster burst rate: Also for action.
GPS: Useful but doesn't have any effect on image quality. The astrotracer feature is good for night skies.
02-10-2017, 08:29 PM   #7
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Yes I am shooting Raw and use Lightroom.
Thanks for all these replies, they have been really insightful.
02-10-2017, 08:49 PM   #8
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Higher resolution: Only noticeable if you crop or print very large.
Better autofocus: This mostly comes into play for action like sports and birding. The AF is also improved in low light and at wide apertures.
Faster burst rate: Also for action.
GPS: Useful but doesn't have any effect on image quality. The astrotracer feature is good for night skies.

And those are the reasons I went from the K5 to the K3ii.

02-10-2017, 10:31 PM   #9
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The biggest difference is see b/t the k5 and k3- series is when I'm shooting in low light. The k3 is more accurate and faster in lower light than the k5. I like that I can crop a bit more w/ the k3 and still print large. High iso seems pretty close and the k5 seems slightly ahead. I find when it comes to sharpening, the k3 requires less, probably b/c of the AA filter being gone. Minor differences for most other features really but 24mp vs 16mp is significant.
02-11-2017, 12:27 AM   #10
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The biggest differences for me between the K5 and K3 were
  1. Far better and more reliable autofocus (almost 100% in focus)
  2. Much sharper images die to increased pixel density and removal of the AA filter.
02-11-2017, 09:16 AM   #11
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Welcome aboard!!!

I went started out with the K5, then K5-IIs, K3 and now a K1. I still own them all. To me the K3 autofocus was much improved over the K5 line. Most of my lenses are manual focus and focus confirmation is definitely better too. The K1 is even better.

Right now I use My K1 as a primary camera with the K3 to complement it. My K5 and K5-IIs sit mostly unused. Debating as to whether to put them up for sale. I do still like them for their high ISO performance.
02-11-2017, 09:47 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I went from K-5 to K-3, my wife Tessfully still uses her K-5. Based on this, the K-3 is only better than a K-5 at 100 - 640 ISO, where there is a clear difference. We will shoot a K-5 at 1600 Iso, I will shoot the K-3 at 640 ISO. The K-5 has better Dynamic Range.

I bought the K-3 for two things, AF and Burst speed in FPS. For wildlife, the K-3 is the camera. For wildlife and birds you often don't have time to compose. The extra crop room is important. The burst is much better, twice as many images in a given time frame. The AF is an improvement. ANd the buffer is to die for amongst Pentax cameras.

SO we really didn't see the K-3 as an upgrade to our K-5 for landscape and general photography. I kept my K-5 until I upgraded to a K-1. The K-3 is more a sports action type camera. The K-3 starts 1EV less than a K-5 for dynamic range and goes down from there pretty quickly.

SO here's what you're missing. (Up to 640 ISO).

Action (better AF)
FPS burst mode.
23 shot buffer.
More crop room and magnification for macros and telephoto work.

If you don't do any of those things, I can see you not being terribly impressed. ( I do all those things and am terribly impressed.)

BY 1600 ISO you've lost the extra resolution and you might as well be using a K-5.

At least that's what I think.

We've also compared the K-5 to a K-1 (same scene taken moments apart from the same position) and on a 4k motor we didn't see a difference. We are into the era of diminishing returns. We are at a point now where the difference between a K-1 and K-5 is not going to turn up on your monitor, even if it's 4 k. Where it will turn up has yet to be established.

The K-1 is one stop better than a K-5 for low light, 3200 ISO instead or 1600 ISO. The K-3 is well behind both of them at 640 ISO as my top comfortable limit. Honestly, I have had images taken at 800 ISO on my K-3 that were too noisey to use. If it's a "have to have" image, I won't go over 640 ISO unless I can't get the shot at that ISO. It's a great camera for what it is, but it's not like the K-5 camera that was more a "camera for everyone."

DxO rates the K-3 sensor lower than the K-5 sensor, so, my guess is, they are in agreement with me. Based on K-5, K-1 etc. it would seem that their pixels size is optimal for modern sensors.

Last edited by normhead; 02-11-2017 at 10:19 AM.
02-11-2017, 10:59 AM   #13
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I think every new camera model has disappointed me in some way...often minor. Most have thrilled enough to overcome any small disappointment. Part of that is my need for adjustment to the differences.

The K5IIs was my biggest thrill in a new camera, it was just amazing to me.....except for the AF and low light AF shooting.

The K1 is just wonderful for my AF needs, a true and honest improvement like no other Pentax I have owned before it. I don't think it is better in IQ than my K5IIs...but keeping in mind that I shoot mostly with the Bigma 50-500 @ 500mm and in the wonderful K1 Crop Mode, this is not surprising. In what few FF shots I have done with the K1, I find them simply amazing in almost every respect and every situation, perfect light or low.

02-11-2017, 02:55 PM   #14
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I think the number one benefit of the K3/K3 II over the K5 cameras is speed of operation. It is just faster, despite having bigger files. Image quality is awash. Not quite as much dynamic range at low iso, no iso 80 on the K3, but more detail in the images. High iso probably favors the K5 very slightly, but I've never really found a situation where the K5 would take great images and the K3 not.

But certainly this is not a K7 to K5 improvement. You probably would need to get a K-1 to see that.
02-12-2017, 12:34 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I The astrotracer feature is good for night skies.
IF..and it's a BIG can get it to precise calibrate,,,,"normal" calibration seems to work "OK", yet precise using the tracer function seems not so...tried, tried, go (and YES, away from "metals", and other hampering instances that might "interfere", yet no success...).....yet have NOT actually tried it "out in the field", away from cell towers, in the city, houses, trees, etc...Don't hold out much "hope" for this "feature" to work....time may tell...

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