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05-08-2022, 09:20 AM   #1
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K3 III DNG file size, and card speed recommendations?

Hello, I've got a K3 III on the way that I'm upgrading from a K5 II and I'm wondering which memory cards to buy. I did some searching around but couldn't find all the info I was looking for.

I've previously used a Sandisk Extreme Pro 64MB, which gives me about 2600 shots since the DNG files are about 25MB or so.

How big are DNG files on the K3 III? I'd like to have about the same number of shots (or more) available on the new camera. I tend to shoot pretty heavily, so I run into the buffer limit on my current camera from time to time.

Would this card be a good one to maximize the performance of the primary slot without being overkill? https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1617741-REG/sandisk_sdsdxdk_128g_anci...981&

And would this one be a good one for the second slot, again to maximize performance without being overkill? https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1431034-REG/sandisk_sdsdxxy_128g_anci...981&

I'm new to the UHS world, so I'm not quite sure how to interpret the specs, etc.

Thank you for any help you're able to give me!

05-08-2022, 09:33 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Euan Quote
Hello, I've got a K3 III on the way that I'm upgrading from a K5 II and I'm wondering which memory cards to buy. I did some searching around but couldn't find all the info I was looking for.

Would this card be a good one to maximize the performance of the primary slot without being overkill? https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1617741-REG/sandisk_sdsdxdk_128g_anci...981&

And would this one be a good one for the second slot, again to maximize performance without being overkill? https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1431034-REG/sandisk_sdsdxxy_128g_anci...981&

I'm new to the UHS world, so I'm not quite sure how to interpret the specs, etc.


Thank you for any help you're able to give me!
All you need are UHS-II V30 cards, even if I've chosen Lexar 1667x V60's, which still cost far less than the V90's. I do find that my Sony Tough V90's might allow the buffer to clear a tiny bit faster, but for the difference in price it's not worth it. It's also far easier to just use the same UHS-II cards in both slots. That way you don't confuse which slot is which, and you'll appreciate the faster transfers to your computer. By the way, number one and number two slots are exactly the opposite of the K1.


Oh, and 32GB cards will be plenty large enough for stills.

A lot of us went overkill early on with UHS-II. As far as I'm aware there's not a consumer camera on the market (yet) that can fully utilize the speeds offered by a V90 card. You don't need them, just paying for speeds you can't use unless transferring to your computer a few seconds quicker is worth twice the price or more of a V30.

Last edited by gatorguy; 05-08-2022 at 09:52 AM.
05-08-2022, 09:39 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Euan Quote
Hello, I've got a K3 III on the way that I'm upgrading from a K5 II and I'm wondering which memory cards to buy. I did some searching around but couldn't find all the info I was looking for.

I've previously used a Sandisk Extreme Pro 64MB, which gives me about 2600 shots since the DNG files are about 25MB or so.

How big are DNG files on the K3 III? I'd like to have about the same number of shots (or more) available on the new camera. I tend to shoot pretty heavily, so I run into the buffer limit on my current camera from time to time.

Thank you for any help you're able to give me!


My K-3iii PEF files are 30-40MB but I shoot mostly JPG so haven't given performance a lot of thought!
The Operating Manual (p130) quotes 141 RAW images on a 8GB card.
05-08-2022, 11:16 AM   #4
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DNG files from my K-3 III check in between 29mb to 32mb each. I use 128gb SanDisk cards and can get roughly 3900 shots per card.

05-08-2022, 01:35 PM   #5
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Thank you everyone so far! So for size it sounds like DNG files may only be a bit bigger than my current ones, although according to the manual they could be twice the size. I wonder if there's a compression option for DNG and/or PEF that accounts for the size differences that people are seeing, and especially vs what the manual says? I'll have a look through the options when I get the camera.

I really appreciate the comment that at first when the camera came out some people went overboard with card speed and have found it's not strictly necessary. I read a bunch of early threads and I was hoping to hear an update exactly like that -- thank you!

For the speed, I'm still a bit confused: V30 is only for UHS I, I believe, from what I just googled after reading the responses here: "V60 and V90 are used in UHS-II mode or faster" from Speed Class | SD Association . So given that the K3 II has a UHS II slot, I should get a > V30 card?

Or am I misunderstanding? I'm definitely confused on this point

I get the idea of buying two of the same cards for sure -- if I can find a card that's sufficient to max out performance but not terribly expensive then that absolutely makes sense.

All of the Sandisk UHS II cards that I can find seem to be V90. They're also super expensive. So maybe I want to look for a UHS II V60 card? I've used Sandisk forever and it's always been good to me, so I'm a little reluctant to switch out. I see a Sony Tough UHS II V60 -- maybe that's a better choice? Sony SF-M Tough 128GB UHS-II SD Memory Card | Best Buy Canada

Thank you again everyone!
05-08-2022, 01:40 PM   #6
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I am shooting with Sony Tough card - very pleased with throughput.
05-08-2022, 02:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Euan Quote
I get the idea of buying two of the same cards for sure -- if I can find a card that's sufficient to max out performance but not terribly expensive then that absolutely makes sense.
Try these:
amazon.com: Lexar LSD64GCBNA1667 Professional SDHC/SDXC 1667x UHS-II 64GB Memory Card (3-Pack) : Electronics?tag=pentaxforums-20&
$80 for a 3-pack


Last edited by gatorguy; 05-08-2022 at 02:41 PM.
05-08-2022, 05:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Euan Quote
I'm new to the UHS world, so I'm not quite sure how to interpret the specs, etc
I have owned and shot with K5IIs, K3 and K1 all with Sandisk UHS I cards that you have the link in your post (the second one) with zero issues. I never purchased UHS II Sandisk cards as non of the Pentaxes I owned needed them. However for my Fuji and Sony cameras that are capable of accepting UHS II cards, I tried one Fuji and one Sony Tough UHS II card and tested them against the SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS I cards and in all my tests including read test on my Macbook Pro and external readers (UHS I and UHS II), the SanDisk UHS I was faster in every case! That is not supposed to be as on paper UHS II is two to three times faster. In practice I found out otherwise. Unless you are shooting 4K video, no camera needs the UHS II V60 (which is what I have in the Fuji and Sony cards) or V90 speed for still image shooting. Save your money and get V30 Sandisk Extreme Pro cards.

Word of caution on Lexar and Sony Tough Cards. I know two pros friends who lost client work on Lexar cards and the Sony Tough card I got was defective. Sony knew about it and it took them almost two months to send me a replacement. I still do not trust the Sony for any serious work. As a result, I am not using anything but Sandisk Pro cards. I have used the CF cards from them and now SD cards for the last 20+ years and never had a single failure.

I also avoided 128GB cards for the longest time as I did not want tons of files on one disk just in case it failed. So, I have a good number of 32GB and 64GB Sandisk Extreme Pro cards. I started buying and using 128GB cards, only when I started shooting more with K1 and later with Sony A7RIV saving in both JPEG and RAW at the same time. I have not had a single hiccup with the 128GB cards either. Hope this helps. Good luck with your purchase.
05-08-2022, 06:46 PM   #9
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I had problems with the Sandisk Pro card so now I use Lexar professional and haven't had a problem. The fact is that none of them are 100 percent fool proof. I have a K-3ii which has about the same raw file size and i use a 64GB card and that is way more than enough, I just like the extra storage in case I would want to do more video. Do some research and see what the camera is capable of as far as read and write speed, buying a card capable of faster speeds than the camera is just a waste of money.
05-08-2022, 11:08 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Re card size, I too use smaller cards as like btnapa I won't put all my eggs in one basket. The phrase ' single point of failure' was created for a reason. As to card speed, go with UHS-1 or UHS-11 as recommended by Ricoh.

FWIW I move my day/session shots off to storage as soon as I get home, so only need a card with sufficient capacity for the shoot.

Last edited by JohnX; 05-08-2022 at 11:39 PM.
05-08-2022, 11:29 PM   #11
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Thank you all again!

Yeah, now that I understand better what all the numbers actually mean, I was going to double-check the specs for the camera against them before making a final decision. This is definitely going to be the fastest camera I buy for quite a while, so no sense in overkill! Googling for specs I just found this thread Max writing speed on K-3 III?: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review where there were some tests of burst shooting and it seems that the limiting factor isn't the card slot type (UHS I or II) but something else in the pipeline, and the camera as a whole seems to max out at around V30 speeds regardless of which slot you're using.

@btnapa that's very interesting about your tests! Yeah, I definitely default to Sandisk just based on personal experience. And yeah, I don't like leaving large numbers of files on them either, but sometimes out in the field I need to shoot a lot on a particular day before being able to dump the photos and wipe the card ready for the next day.

The Sony Tough one certainly sounds interesting, although I've beaten up my K5 II pretty badly in the rain and grit and the actual SD card was never in jeopardy. Interesting that it might be a little faster in practice though! (I just found your post here with more details: Anyone really measured the UHS-II write speed in the camera? - Page 5 - PentaxForums.com)

The Lexar also does sound interesting, especially for the price! Googling some reviews it does sound like a good brand, and certainly the price is very tempting.

So it sounds like either of these or the Sandisk is a good choice and I can't really go wrong. Thank you all for saving me from buying a super-expensive V90 card that would have been totally unnecessary!
05-10-2022, 01:07 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Euan Quote
Thank you everyone so far! So for size it sounds like DNG files may only be a bit bigger than my current ones, although according to the manual they could be twice the size. I wonder if there's a compression option for DNG and/or PEF that accounts for the size differences that people are seeing, and especially vs what the manual says? I'll have a look through the options when I get the camera.
Most RAW formats include lossless compression. PEF files are compressed for sure, for DNG it is optional, i.e. up to Pentax in this case, but I would be astonished if the DNG-files generated by Pentax cameras were not. This is likely why there is the difference between the figures according to the manual and the actual number of files on the card. The manual only gives you only the figure for all the files having the biggest possible size.
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