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08-07-2014, 08:57 PM   #1
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Pentax K-3 - Not that good with third-party lenses?!

Dear Experts,

I was days away from purchasing a K-3 with 18-135 WR when I stumbled upon this review on Amazon -> Amazon.com: G.M.'s review of Pentax 21977 DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL (...

The review is for the 18-135 lens which he brutally trashed on the grounds of high levels of field curvature (very interesting theory btw), in the comments section of the review he also says the K-3 camera doesn't seem to fare too well with third-party lenses. According to him:

"I bought and returned the K3. The K3 does NOT work well with 3rd party lenses. My tamron 28-75 is tack sharp on my K5iis, but will not even begin to focus on the K3. My DA 16-45 did not focus as well on the K3 as my new K5iis, and even when manually focused to perfection, the borders of my images were soft on the K3 where it is now perfect on the K5iis. My Pentax Primes were fine on the K3 though. A lot of Pentax fans will jump on me for this. But I am saying it like it is. Currently, I own 2 K5's, a K5iis with another K5iis in my cart, and I own 2 K01's. I own a multitude of Pentax glass, and all lenses focused very differently on the K3 than my other cams. I do NOT like the K3 other than the larger LCD, 2 SD Card slots, and faster shot to shot times in Live view. However, I noted live view focusing accuracy is much worse than my 3 K5's. For this reason, recommending a lens for the K3 is difficult.

To let you know, I called Pentax, was advised the focusing problems are a common issue with 3rd party lenses and older Pentax glass. I then read Pentax Forums review of the K3, DPReview of the K3, then researched other forum members comments on the K3....ALL noted the same thing I am explaining here. The K3 really only works well with precise lenses; the DA limited lineup, and SDM/DC motor lenses made by Pentax. Other lenses are a shot in the dark and the new 24MP sensor is tough on border performance of lenses.

I say if you love your K3 and will not part with it, stick to Pentax glass. If you insist on 3rd party glass, the new line of Sigma (A series or maybe the 17-70 C) lenses may work well, especially if you can "dock" adjust your lenses with the Sigma USB Dock. I do not trust any Tamron lens on the K3, but I am sure there are many exceptions.

Bottom line, matching a lens to a camera body IS VERY difficult. NONE of my lenses focus the same on one camera body as the other....none of them. That's 5 cameras, 15 lenses. 5X15=75 different combinations of performance. Not an easy situation.

At this point, I am selling most of my lenses. My most reliable lenses are a Pentax DA16-45, Tamron 28-75, and all my DA primes including limiteds."


I usually tend to ignore Amazon/eBay reviews cause they aren't very reliable, but this guy seems to know what he's talking.

Looking forward to know your insights.

Regards,
Vishal

08-07-2014, 09:02 PM   #2
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The Sigma DC 17-50 works amazingly with the K-3.
08-07-2014, 09:24 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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I'm not buying it.
08-07-2014, 09:29 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
I'm not buying it.
Do you mean not buying the K-3 or buying the review?

I still have a K-5 but I have certainly read all the k-3 review I could find and this is the first I have heard of this sort of behaviour.

I'm sure some K-3 owners will be able to comment here...

08-07-2014, 09:31 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote
To let you know, I called Pentax, was advised the focusing problems are a common issue with 3rd party lenses and older Pentax glass.
This guy is blowing smoke out his ***....

I own a K-3 and use nothing BUT older Pentax and 3rd party glass. No focusing issues whatsoever.
08-07-2014, 09:37 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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Don't believe anything you read on the internet. Not sure if you genuinely want opinions or are just coming here to poke a hornets nest. I will not argue that K-3 is best APS-C camera on the market, or that it has been reviewed many places very positively. Or that if you look long enough you can find a negative review of anything.

All I can really say is that I use a lot of vintage glass and the K-3 delivers for me. I have no third party lenses so I cannot help you there. I use both K-5IIs and K-3 and prefer the K-3. I routinely test and fine tune any lens I use regularly to each camera body using the built in utility provided. On the k-5IIs (and on the K-5 before that) all lenses required some adjustment. I was stunned to find that on the K-3 only one lens required adjustment and that a +1, the smallest adjustment possible. Maybe the reviewer had a bad sample. Maybe he did not know how to adjust his camera. But I find it very odd that he owns 6 Pentax cameras, bought and returned a k-3 because he did not like it and now is "selling most of my lenses". Just does not sound right.

I am also confused by "Bottom line, matching a lens to a camera body IS VERY difficult". No, it is not, it is actually quite simple. Most high end camera bodies (including those from Pentax) provide a utility to match lenses to camera bodies. The Pentax utility even adjusts for whether you have the Pentax tele-converter mounted or not. So I disagree, the reviewer does not sound like he knows what he is doing.

I also note that of 55 reviews for that combination 44 are 5 star and 7 are 4 star. Yet you are concerned about one bad review?

08-07-2014, 09:45 PM   #7
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"My DA 16-45 did not focus as well on the K3 as my new K5iis, and even when manually focused to perfection, the borders of my images were soft on the K3 where it is now perfect on the K5iis"

The above is pure and utter bullshit. Either he has no idea what he's doing wrong, or he's seeing the softer edges due to the higher resolution on the k-3.

"To let you know, I called Pentax, was advised the focusing problems are a common issue with 3rd party lenses and older Pentax glass. I then read Pentax Forums review of the K3, DPReview of the K3, then researched other forum members comments on the K3....ALL noted the same thing I am explaining here. The K3 really only works well with precise lenses; the DA limited lineup, and SDM/DC motor lenses made by Pentax. Other lenses are a shot in the dark and the new 24MP sensor is tough on border performance of lenses."

Also bullshit. There is rare mention of focus issues on the k-3. I have a Tamron 70-200 F2.8, Sigma 50 F1.4, Sigma 105 F2.8 Macro, and Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4 lens. No issues with focusing whatsoever. In fact, my Tamron 70-200 is amazingly fast focusing with the k-3.
08-07-2014, 09:58 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote
I usually tend to ignore Amazon/eBay reviews cause they aren't very reliable,
Hello Vishal, welcome to the Forum!
Trashing a super-zoom, even a fairly good one like the DA 18-135mm isn't exactly a tough sell. They're all a bit squirrely somewhere, usually the extreme wide end and full rack. Maybe he got a bad one.
As far as the K-3 being any worse (or better) than the other 20+MP generation APS-C DSLR's with older or inexpensive glass, focusing problems, soft corners, etc? It's been predicted for years that the improved resolution (etc) of the 'next' era would show the limitations of old or cheap glass, the sensor would out-resolve the lens. Still subject to settings, processing differences, ISO, yada, yada. His problems matching lenses (in focusing) with bodies? Focus correction, everybody uses it. 30 year-old lenses are worn and perhaps a bit loose in critical fit. Live with it, don't blast Pentax when they've been providing a solution for years, along with the rest of the industry.
Same with 3rd party glass; I'll bet Nikon and Canon users have to fiddle with their Tamrons, too. Maybe more, maybe less
He's bummed and it's Pentax's fault.
jmo,
Ron

08-07-2014, 10:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote

I usually tend to ignore Amazon/eBay reviews cause they aren't very reliable, but this guy seems to know what he's talking.
I think not.
08-07-2014, 10:21 PM - 1 Like   #10
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All,

Firstly, let me say am floored with the response I've received on this thread. I am just a week or two old on this forum and looks like I am gonna like my stay here.

Trust me, I was only trying to quench my fears and had no ulterior motives. I had the K-3 in my cart when I read this review and it took me aback.

It totally makes sense that I chose to ignore all the 5s and decided to quote this one review. But then, that's what humans do, isn't it? It takes one negative feedback to bring a screeching halt to the plans you've made and you are bound to seek a second opinion from those who know their gear well.

I am glad to have done so and your reviews has revived my plans to purchase a K-3.

Thank you so much.

Regards,
Vishal
08-07-2014, 10:46 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote
It totally makes sense that I chose to ignore all the 5s and decided to quote this one review. But then, that's what humans do, isn't it? It takes one negative feedback to bring a screeching halt to the plans you've made and you are bound to seek a second opinion from those who know their gear well.
I will admit I have done the same. And then weighed the reviews and tried to decide if the reviewer did actually know what he was doing or is just full of BS or sour grapes. I commend you for seeking opinions and other viewpoints. The K-3 is an expensive purchase and I would want to be sure I spent my money wisely.

Unlike the K-5 which had a number of problems at launch the K-3 has been remarkably free of issues. Not that it is perfect of course, and anyone can get a bad sample. If you do buy make sure you get the extended warranty from Pentax, it is another $20 and extends the factory warranty from one year to three, and includes a free cleaning. Well worth the money.

Also, make sure to update the firmware to current and test your lens and fine tune adjust if needed. To get best performance from any gear a certain amount of set up and tuning is required, unlike a point & shoot a good DSLR gives the ability to set things up the way you want. You pay for that in more complexity but once setup is complete you have an excellent tool that will give you good use.
08-07-2014, 10:53 PM   #12
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My Tamron 28-75 and Sigma 50-500OS and Sigma 70-200OS all perform perfectly on my K-3.
For a user that has supposedly so much experience with Pentax he seemed too quick to blame the K-3 model vs perhaps checking to see if he just ran into a bad unit.
Check the 'Post your K-3 shots here' thread to see what folks are working with.
08-07-2014, 11:02 PM   #13
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The K-3 has made my Sigma 10-20mm sing compared to using it on my K-30.
08-07-2014, 11:05 PM   #14
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My Sigma 70-200/2.8 works beautifully on the K-3. I am using the combination every day this month for my Single in August challenge.
The Siggie does not work at all well with the HD DA 1.4x Rear Converter though.
08-08-2014, 12:43 AM   #15
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I own the K-3 and do most of my shooting with third-party lenses. Here is the skinny:
  • The K-3 does make higher demands in regards to technique. Missed focus or camera motion will be more prominent than if the photo was taken on a lower resolution camera
  • I have been pleasantly surprised at how well most of my vintage lenses perform on the K-3
  • While most of my lenses are manual focus, I have not noticed that any of my AF lenses perform worse on the K-3 than on the (recently sold) K10D
Good luck on sorting this all out.


Steve
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