Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-05-2019, 03:38 PM   #1
New Member

Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 2
K-3 with huge noise starting with ISO 800; iPhone/ performing better

Very bad experience with K-3 using with Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM Lens
and Pentax SMC 40mm f/2.8 XS. Most of my photos taken cloudy days or taken inhouse are so bad than even Iphone is performing better. Images taken in living room in auto mode (green) jump to ISO 3200 and images has terrible noise. I upgraded camera with latest firmware without any better result. Maybe I am lacking knowledge to handle this very demanding camera compared with Pentax ist*DL DSL which performed even better related to noise/image and colour quality. Any advice or hint?

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3  Photo     
01-05-2019, 03:55 PM - 1 Like   #2
Junior Member

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 34
The first 2 look OK to me with regards to noise. The third one is the worst but not worse than I would necessarily expect from K-3 (or my K-5) at ISO 3200.

The blur plus the noise make it bad. I didn't notice at first how blurry the third one actually is.
01-05-2019, 04:01 PM - 2 Likes   #3
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
RobA_Oz's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tasmania, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,439
Two things come to mind. Firstly, your phone camera will have greater depth of field, due to its smaller sensor at the same aperture setting, so any slightly missed focus with your DSLR will make the picture appear less well-defined, and noise will be more prominent in the out-of-focus areas.

Secondly, your phone camera will apply sharpening and noise reduction automatically. You may not have applied similar settings to your Pentax, for JPEG output. If you’re working from RAW files, you will have to apply those in post-processing.
01-05-2019, 04:30 PM - 1 Like   #4
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East of England
Posts: 13,345
It's quite a common thing for people to perceive that modern mobile phone camera photos look better than equivalent dedicated DSLR or mirrorless camera photos., especially when viewed on screen at typical reproduction sizes. The reasons for that are that there's a lot of in-phone processing going on... strong noise reduction, equally strong sharpening, multiple shots merged to achieve higher dynamic range, etc.

DSLR and mirrorless cameras require more work from the photographer. There is more skill involved, both in taking and processing the photos. These cameras do offer the option of creating JPEG format files like your phone camera, and used wisely, they can produce good qualiy photos in a fairly wide range of circumstances. But the real power of a "proper" cameras (versus a phone camera) becomes apparent when shooting files in raw format and processing them with appropriate software.

If you compare the JPEG output of a phone camera vs a raw-to-JPEG processed photo from a DSLR or mirrorless camera, both at 100% reproduction, there is no contest. The latter will win every time. But there is a learning curve involved to get there. Bear in mind that it's quite possible to get phone camera results by processing a photo from a dedicated camera, but impossible to go in the opposite direction

Last edited by BigMackCam; 01-05-2019 at 04:56 PM.
01-05-2019, 04:49 PM - 3 Likes   #5
Forum Member

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 78
Your shutter speeds are 1/4 and 1/15 according to the photos. I am going to take a wild guess...these were hand held with no tripod used?
01-05-2019, 05:19 PM - 1 Like   #6
ZombieArmy's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,887
Dark skies and clouds bring out the worst noise by far for some reason, I notice it on any camera I use.
01-05-2019, 05:35 PM - 2 Likes   #7
Digitalis's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Adelaide.
Posts: 9,584
It is evident there are some technical aspects of photography you need to tend to - your shutter speeds are very low, which in spite of In camera stabilization, image-blur is apparent. Learning how to brace and stabilize yourself when taking photos low shutter speed is a useful skill.

You might want to look into some post processing software that will allow you to edit your images, control noise and make them look how you want them to.

Flash can be very helpful when photographing closer subjects

On camera flash can look very harsh and sometimes unappealing, but it is better than not getting the shot at all. Learning to use off camera flash can be daunting and difficult to master, but it is a gratifying skill to have.
01-05-2019, 05:49 PM - 1 Like   #8
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 48,894
As a rule of thumb, it's better to use a higher ISO for the sake of a faster shutter speed than to keep the ISO low. Noise is generally very well handled on modern cameras like the K-3.

If you use a faster shutter speed (to eliminate the motion blur), and make sure the focus is where you want it, you should be good to go. Practice makes perfect!

Adam Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography) server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover these costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

01-05-2019, 06:09 PM - 1 Like   #9
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
pschlute's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Surrey, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,474
The first image is not suffering from noise but from misfocus, maybe camera shake.

Nothing wrong with the second picture

The third one is suffering from camera shake.

Your DSLR will have a LOT less depth of field than your iphone. Perhaps you are confusing this for noise ?

Last edited by pschlute; 01-05-2019 at 06:45 PM.
01-05-2019, 07:13 PM - 1 Like   #10

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: NY
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,693
I would recommend that you use an appropriate mode, such as TAV for an Auto mode or Manual itself to have control over your settings fully. With a mode such as "Green" (Auto) mode, the camera knows somewhat what is needed, but does not allow you to retain specific settings that you want to stay constant.

For indoor shooting, do not expect sufficient light to come out of nowhere. An on or off camera flash will supply you with the light you need to attain shots while using an appropriate Shutter Speed and reasonable desired ISO to avoid blur and noise. If you want the necessary depth to acquire existing subject detail, the aperture (F stop) being used must be appropriate.

For outdoor shooting, the above is also applicable unless you are shooting landscape, which you can shoot according to light availability if shooting handheld, and if using a tripod you have the advantage of being able to use lower shutter speeds (long exposures) to achieve the lowest ISO (for example 100) that your camera will allow. Also, the tripod use wil allow you to utilize higher number apertures such as F16 and F18.

When shooting movement, the proper shutter speed needs to be applied. An auto mode such as "Green" mode is not going to do this as well as the user.

It seems that if you apply the necessary methods required for the type results you mentioned above, you can attain what you want/need.

In order to get results, the necessary method needs to be applied.

If you are in need of a flash with P-TTL (Pentax Through The Lens) metering, which would allow you to shoot in Manual mode with the flash auto metering for correct flash output, I would recommend the Yongnuo YN585EX. A shortcut to a listing of that product is below.

Last edited by C_Jones; 01-05-2019 at 07:36 PM.
01-05-2019, 07:46 PM - 4 Likes   #11
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 33,407
I'm curious, how about posting some of those phone shots... I'm curious about this.

K-3 @6400
It is noisey, I'd just like to see that a phone can do better.
01-05-2019, 08:52 PM - 1 Like   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
clackers's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 13,356
QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'm curious, how about posting some of those phone shots... I'm curious about this.

K-3 @6400
It is noisey, I'd just like to see that a phone can do better.
One thing to remember is the phone's taking the picture at maybe f1.8. The ISO might be more than four times lower than with that Sigma at the long end.
01-05-2019, 09:33 PM   #13
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,525
Remember that the *its dl is a 6mp camera with a ccd sensor. If you downsample the 24mp files to 6mp virtually all noise will go away. (Along with a lot of detail!) But even so my k100d era sensors struggle at ISO 800 compared with my k-3. Jpg images straight out of the k-3 should blow the *ist dl away at higher ISO.

As others have said a ton of computational effort goes into phone pictures, a lot looks good before you really dig in. Those phone sensors are small but they have generally fast prime lenses on them so your going to need to level the field a little by upping the processing or the grade of the lens.

Like normhead I'd like to see direct comparison shots to see what you are looking at that's better and understand the workflow.
01-06-2019, 04:38 AM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 20,542
I guess I would echo what the others said. You are shooting in really low light settings. Your shot of the dog was shot at 1/15 second and iso 1600 and for some reason under exposed by 1.3 EV. That is the sort of situation that will stress most camera sensors the most. The landscape was 1/4 second and iso 3200 and clearly it was stressing your hand holding ability as there is quite a bit of camera shake there. The bottles and glasses look shaky too, although the shutter speed there was 1/50 second.

Honestly, I'm not seeing tons of noise, but there are a number of things you could do to get better photos. One is work on hand holding technique. Your shake reduction will help a stop or two, but bracing yourself a bit and steadying things before you take a photo will make a difference. For night scapes, your best bet is just simply to get a tripod and use it with the 2 second self timer to allow for longer exposures. I have hand held night shots and clearly it can be done, but your best results will be with a tripod, lower iso and stopping down your aperture more to allow for more depth of field. The last thing for indoor shots is either a bit faster lens or an external flash unit. Faster lenses can certainly allow you to open your aperture more and allow more light in, that said, they make focus a bit more difficult as the depth of field is more narrow. External flashes make all your lenses "faster" in a sense, but they also make your camera more bulky. Oh, and try not to under expose. Any time that you under expose and have to bump your image's exposure at all, you will see much more noise than you would otherwise.

Regardless, good luck with your shooting endeavors and post more photos here. There are lots of folks smarter than me who will give you good advice and can help you improve your image quality and get more satisfaction from your K3.
01-06-2019, 04:54 AM   #15
Forum Member

Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Tartu
Posts: 77
show us those superior Iphone shots then

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, images, iso, k-3, k-3 noise, noise, pentax, pentax help, photography, troubleshooting
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
High ISO, noise and better lenses fgaudet Pentax DSLR Discussion 3 02-23-2014 09:29 PM
K-5 noise even with ISO 200 (was: K-5 IIs noise) lunany Pentax K-5 9 12-28-2013 06:54 PM
Photos: K-5 at ISO 6400 AND ISO 12,800 PeterKBurian Pentax K-5 2 01-07-2011 07:01 AM
I am getting a lot of noise at ISO 800 and ISO 1600.... Abstract Pentax K-5 19 11-30-2010 10:48 AM
LBA: I have a huge huge gap in my line up!! Nubi Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 29 02-14-2010 06:44 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:45 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]