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12-10-2013, 03:49 AM - 1 Like   #1
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K3 or K5(any variant) **Experience Required**

I would prefer to hear from those that have had extensive photography experience with Pentax DSLR's. I really do not want to hear about how great the k3 is. I would like to hear real world experiences. 24 megapixels sounds great, but 16 is plenty big. I would love to move to a medium format 645 but the barrier to entry there is obvious. For now I will just be "stitching" images together. To give you my experience I've been shooting for roughly 10 years now. The first DSLR was a k110, k10, k7, and now a k5 in that order. Lenses are sigma 10-20, pentax 18-55 and 80-200 kit lenses, sigma f2.8 100mm macro, f4 300mm and sigma 150-500. My go to camera is obviously the k5, with the k7 as a backup. The k7 I personally did not like as much as the k10, and after using the k5 I realized what a joke the k7 really was. I shoot a LOT of photographs at night so the noise levels in the k7 are my biggest issue, otherwise its great in high levels of light(which camera isn't). My shooting is mostly done at night and the k5 is excellent at night, actually its brilliant. I have also recently been putting together some GIANT panoramic shots,the latest being 16 inches by 120 inches. I am working on getting these mounted but that's another story. Really what I would like is a second camera so I can use two cameras at once at night. Getting the latest camera is always nice so that you can grow into new things, but it seems that the K3 does not seem to be a big enough step to warrant a purchase over the K5. This is the mistake I made with the K7, should have just bought another K10 or maybe a K20. I don't want to make that mistake again. These cameras get beat up pretty badly too. Being left outside during thunderstorms to capture lightning while I use a remote, swinging from my back while climbing trees, getting frozen in 35mph winds when its -5 during snowstorms are just a few things and I've only dropped them all at some point and they still work great. Its even more amazing the lenses still function to be honest. Some new lenses are in short order as well, but its pointless until I get the body situation straightened out. So, if there is anyone out there that can help with this or has any real world input let with these cameras your input would be appreciated.

FWIW there are links to my work if you are looking at what these cameras have been doing.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151688271702282&set=t.1353124246&type=1 < - 120 inch panoramic

Flickr: jjeling's Photostream

12-10-2013, 04:03 AM   #2
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My recommendation is the K-5 IIs. You are stitching. Add a second stitch and you've made up the resolution disparity between the 16 and 24 mpx. Your priority needs to be lenses. The K-5 IIs will allow you to maintain everything you know about the K-7/K-5 bodies except an increase in sharpness resolution and low light auto focus accuracy/effectiveness.

If noise is also a concern, then the K-5 IIs will provide the best noise advantage compared to the K-3 (the K-3 is noisier due to the higher pixel density) without really hindering in sharpness (thanks to both negating the AA filter - you have to decide for you if you want the option thanks to the K-3's selectable AA filter).

If you are doing what you say you are doing (which I have no doubt), you really need pro-grade weather sealed lenses. The DA* 16-50 is not only the pro-grade standard zoom for Pentax, it's the widest weather sealed lens you can get and it's built like a damn tank. Another option if you can stitch narrower focal lenths is the DA* 55. The DA 16-50 will have you covered with a f/2.8 through the focal length range, and the DA* 55 is also just as excellently sealed and will provide superb sharpness across the frame (especially from f/2 and smaller apertures) with negligible distortion.

I have used the K-7, K-5, K-30, K-5 IIs in the same extreme conditions you mention, except for the need to stitch (haven't gone there yet). Like I said, I would go the K-5 IIs route, add a couple of stitches to negate the resolution disparity, and use the saved money from the price difference to upgrade your lenses. Also, the decreased resolutuon of the K-5 IIs means that it is inherently less susceptible to diffraction because it sets in at a smaller aperture than the K-3 would for the same lens. This would allow for stopping down for maximum DOF, a blatant advantage the 16mpx have over the 24mpx.

-Heie

P.S. you have some excellent photos - you are clearly not new to the craft

Last edited by Heie; 12-10-2013 at 04:11 AM.
12-10-2013, 06:23 AM   #3
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I'd second Heie - spend more on lenses. It will be entirely subjective if the K-3 enhancements will be worth the extra money over the K-5 (for me it is), but in terms of pure IQ I think you will benefit more from better lenses
12-10-2013, 06:37 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by HenrikDK Quote
I'd second Heie - spend more on lenses. It will be entirely subjective if the K-3 enhancements will be worth the extra money over the K-5 (for me it is), but in terms of pure IQ I think you will benefit more from better lenses
+1 for lenses... +1 for K-5IIs, if you want something now that is well known to work beautifully in the right hands... (perhaps the K-3, if you have the time and enjoy 'learning curves')

Cheers... M

12-10-2013, 07:01 AM   #5
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Yeah, the K7 was an overrated mini-upgrade from the K10. It was actually a downgrade in image quality. I made the same awful mistake getting one.

The K5, on the other hand, was/is everything it was advertised as.
Its a fantastic camera. The K5/K5II is so cheap at the moment it would make a perfect backup or second camera.

The K5 to the K3 sounds like the same situation to me as the K7 was to the K10. Some minor improvements. Arguably lesser image quality.
I cannot see moving from a K5 to the K3 or even wanting it as my primary camera since I already have a K5.
But if the K3 has a feature you "need", then it becomes worth the money... so that is a choice specific to your needs.


I have had such bad experience with Pentax repair and some of the Pentax lenses (DA* 16-50 to be specific) that I want to switch brands... I've saved my pennies and I'm ready to basically drop the store clerk's annual salary in their lap when I find the right kit.
The only problem is that even the $6000 bodies cannot beat what the K5 has to offer with regard to quality in low light (at least not to the extent that it has the added $5500 of value to me!!). I am hoping Pentax/Ricoh will fix the problems with the 16-50 or introduce a new comparable lens and I'll jump on a few K5II bodies in an instant.


Anyway, I think you've got the right idea, stick with a K5II/K5IIs and good lenses.
I have not read anything that makes me want to spend that much for the minor feature changes in the K3.

The DA* 16-50 lenses are very nice... when they work.
Even with the repeated problems I've had, I would suggest that as my primary lens (and hope for a good one).
But maybe I just have a case of nightingale syndrome...?? :-)
12-10-2013, 07:55 AM   #6
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I looked, and the K3 wasn't going to give me enough over the K5 to justify getting one, so my next big photographic purchase will be the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8. It's the one that makes the most sense for me with how I shoot. So, I would say K5 and use the difference towards lenses.
12-10-2013, 08:09 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I think you have all told me what I was looking for and what I needed to hear. I actually planned on buying the 16-50* lens and the 60-250* lens over the summer. They were in the shopping cart and all but I dropped the ball and closed the window. The 300* is awesome but I've been "making due" with the kit lenses and that needs to change. The problem is the backup camera is junk once sunset is around, and really only functions as a backup camera, so in that regard its not a completely useless, after all it is a backup camera. Either way your input will is well received and will be seriously contemplated. Lenses will be the next upgrade...... Come on spring time!!! As for now...PRINT TIME!!
12-10-2013, 08:15 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I want to echo what everyone else has posted about the K5IIs (especially for landscapes) and also going with glass. I too shoot landscapes and cityscapes, panos in ambient low light. From here I am going to diverge a bit in terms of the suggestions. You wrote in passing that you would like a medium format camera - a 645. Well I have stumbled across somewhat of a substitute if you will and its all centered on glass. With the K5IIs being I think the best sensor package. So what am I referring to?

Pentax use to offer a shift lens - the K28/f3.2 Shift. I just happened to see one (not mine) in the marketplace for a great price - a bit beatup on the body, but the seller says the glass is great. I too have the lens and I use it in a very different way - that you might appreciate. It all centers around how the lens operates. It shifts in one direction up to 11mm. So think of a clock's face. Take a image (in the center), shift it over to the 3 o'clock position, take another image (the images are automatically overlaid). Then the lens turns, so you turn the lens to the 4 o'clock position - take an image, then successive to each of the clock hour positions (5,6,7,8, etc.) all the way back to the 2 o'clock position. This is 13 images. Then overlay them using your software stitching software. What you wind up with is the following....



There is more information here.....Ok, so why might you be interested - especially with a K5IIs? Several reasons...
  • Massive Size - When you crop to a square or rectangle (either vertical or horizontal) your result is about the same size (in actual pixels) as a MF image. Also, since you are blending the various shifts, the detail is excellent. Additionally, its not a long skinny image that you are use to getting.
  • Low Noise - Again, due to the blending of the individual shifted images, the noise is effectively reduced. So, think of using ISO 80, on the K5 with its wonderful dynamic range, and after stitching and processing getting an ISO 25 equivalent result. Allso, look at the overlay pattern. In the center you have 13 overlays, while out on the far edges you have a least 1. Depending on how you crop you will probably have at least 2 in 95% of the pixel locations. As you move to the center you quickly go to 4 and then 13 overlays. You should have a very noise free resultant image.
  • Something Different - This essentially is the same technique you are currently using, but with a distinctly different look.
  • Perspective Correction - Yes, this lens is used for PC. However, you are applying it to the scene with a mind set of taking a view that is somewhat different. So think of standing on a cliff or edge of a valley. You usually take a horizontal pano, or a vertical pano. This in not quite either. When you shift/rotate down to the 6 o'clock position, and up to the 12 o'clock position, you are capturing the PC corrected view of the valley. This is something different than the usual. Yes, this is something similar to using a multi-row pano head, but here you are never moving the camera, just rotating the lens (as it was designed). I looked at your flicker pages, and I think that you take the type of images that would work with this technique
When I was looking for this lens, I was told that I would be somewhat sorry, since on a cropped sensor it is not as wide as it is on a FF sensor. This is true. However, this technique makes up for it. 13 images is a lot, it does take some time. Have I done it a lot, not really. I really need to get up to the Grand Canyon. Last time I was up there, I took the lens, but my K5 was on the fritz and ate 3 batteries in 80 frames. So now that its fixed - thanks CRIS and Pentax's extended warranty, I need to drive up there again.

I have also used the technique with bracketing - but 39 and 65 images (using the 3 and 5 shot bracketing) is a lot of work - both capturing and post processing.

The K5IIs is at the end of its run, and the K28/3.5 shift is old glass.



12-10-2013, 08:32 AM   #9
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Get a K5 II. The benefits of a K3 over the K5 II are better tracking and better resolution, with a slight loss in dynamic range (I really can't tell the difference). The K5 II should be adequate from a resolution stand point for most things and will focus as well in the dark as any camera out there.
12-10-2013, 08:38 AM   #10
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With the price difference and a few other issues, especially the noise issue, I would definitely go the K-5 IIs route. All the bugs have been worked out of the K-5 IIs, all the firmware updates have been issued, all the PP support in LR and others have been issued.

The stats on the K-3 don't stack up for an upgrade over the K-5 IIs. Low light needs low noise and landscape needs dynamic range.

Pentax K-3 versus Pentax K-5 IIs - Side by side camera comparison - DxOMark

The only reason I could find to get a K-3 is the improved AF speed using my FA Limited screw-drive lenses. At the present K-3 price this is insufficient justification to upgrade from the K-5 IIs.

Last edited by Parry; 12-10-2013 at 09:08 AM.
12-10-2013, 08:46 AM   #11
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I really can't add to the excellent advice above but just wanted to comment on your photography. Somewhere on this forum I stumbled onto your pictures around Ohio especially some great shots in Columbus where I grew up a long time ago. They are exceptional as are the pics down at Old Mans Cave and out west. You really have a good eye especially for night time cityscapes. Keep up the great work! And I agree...come on Spring!!
12-10-2013, 09:07 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by woodywesty Quote
I really can't add to the excellent advice above but just wanted to comment on your photography. Somewhere on this forum I stumbled onto your pictures around Ohio especially some great shots in Columbus where I grew up a long time ago. They are exceptional as are the pics down at Old Mans Cave and out west. You really have a good eye especially for night time cityscapes. Keep up the great work! And I agree...come on Spring!!
Seconded. I'm now a Flickr follower of JJ's work. Low light needs low noise and landscape needs dynamic range.
12-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #13
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Thanks again guys, your comments are all appreciated. Spring is the time of tax returns and bonus checks, and it is also about the time of my first vacation every year. Its always fun with new equipment.

Woody/Parr, thanks for your kind words. This has always been done as a passion and not for any commercial or resale purpose. Fortunately for me, its seems as though I have a small following here in my hometown of Toledo and all these prints are going to get mounted and eventually sold(hopefully). Once they are all mounted, into a gallery they go. The gallery too will be mine and exclusively fill with my work. Consequently it will also be funded by me(ouch) and needless to say will be very expensive so I'm glad I have a decent job right now that can pay for most of it. I needed to do it this way because I did not want to change the way I shoot in order to profit from it. I personally hate shooting commercial and people photography. Senior, wedding, engagements, kids, families, sporting events, and things of that nature kill me, yet I know this is generally the only way to sustain yourself as a photographer any more. Doing it this way allows me to shoot without thinking about who is going to like it so I can get them to buy it, and in turn will allow me to maintain an unfiltered and unbiased photograph and learning . This comes at the expense of my money accounts as many of you might be quite familiar with. I have started printing everything out now and this is probably going to be a 5 year project but if everyone cooperates maybe I can finally quit my job and do the things I really love doing......

Thanks for your support. The more input I get from everyone the more is supports my theory that I am moving in the right direction.
12-10-2013, 03:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jjeling Quote
Thanks again guys, your comments are all appreciated. Spring is the time of tax returns and bonus checks, and it is also about the time of my first vacation every year. Its always fun with new equipment.

Woody/Parr, thanks for your kind words. This has always been done as a passion and not for any commercial or resale purpose. Fortunately for me, its seems as though I have a small following here in my hometown of Toledo and all these prints are going to get mounted and eventually sold(hopefully). Once they are all mounted, into a gallery they go. The gallery too will be mine and exclusively fill with my work. Consequently it will also be funded by me(ouch) and needless to say will be very expensive so I'm glad I have a decent job right now that can pay for most of it. I needed to do it this way because I did not want to change the way I shoot in order to profit from it. I personally hate shooting commercial and people photography. Senior, wedding, engagements, kids, families, sporting events, and things of that nature kill me, yet I know this is generally the only way to sustain yourself as a photographer any more. Doing it this way allows me to shoot without thinking about who is going to like it so I can get them to buy it, and in turn will allow me to maintain an unfiltered and unbiased photograph and learning . This comes at the expense of my money accounts as many of you might be quite familiar with. I have started printing everything out now and this is probably going to be a 5 year project but if everyone cooperates maybe I can finally quit my job and do the things I really love doing......

Thanks for your support. The more input I get from everyone the more is supports my theory that I am moving in the right direction.
I'd love to quit what I do for a living. It's truly miserable.

Good luck and get a K-5IIs, it'll pay off.
12-11-2013, 08:16 AM   #15
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The da*300 works very well on the k3. It is a dog on the k5. I've never used the iis.
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