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01-29-2014, 09:56 PM   #1
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Shooting a dark concert. K-5 or K-3?

This question is currently hypothetical but will, in the near distant future, become a reality.
I have a K-5.
I have a K-3.
Which do I take to a dark concert?
I know the K-3 has better AF performance in low light than the K-5.
I know the K-5 has better ISO performance in low light than the K-3.
So which do I take if I can only take one?

I know the lens choice is important but I have a range of zooms and primes in across the range of focal lengths.
Also I won't be printing them as poster-sized prints.



01-29-2014, 09:59 PM   #2
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A noisy shot can be cleaned up. A OOF shot can't.
01-29-2014, 10:27 PM   #3
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Almost always the camera that handles best for you/which is more intuitive is the better choice. This trumps all else when it comes to higher percentage of good pictures.

If you can bring 2 cameras (a rehearsal for example). I generally have a wide angle mounted on one camera--stopped down 1 stop and zone focused, and the other camera has a fast prime or a moderately fast zoom. And the latter is the better handling camera.
01-29-2014, 10:28 PM - 1 Like   #4
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hmmmm well I shoot music and roller derby (both tend to occur in low light) on a K10d so my advice may sound a little perverse....

take both... use both.... put a 70/80-200 2.8 on one and a 28-80 on the other and swap between them this way you can get up close and personal with the lead singer and guitarist but still grab the bass guitarist and drummer plus pull in close for those shots of the singers face when they're getting all worked up and passionate...

enjoy and remember that somewhere in the world is a K10d user who wishes he had the conundrum you have! :-)

01-29-2014, 11:49 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bitterntwisted Quote
take both... use both.... put a 70/80-200 2.8 on one and a 28-80 on the other and swap between them this way you can get up close and personal with the lead singer and guitarist but still grab the bass guitarist and drummer plus pull in close for those shots of the singers face when they're getting all worked up and passionate...
I agree, but allow the variation of using 2 primes or a prime and a zoom.

AF performance trumps sensor differences, at least if there's much movement (maybe there won't be).


You have good lenses, but you're a little bit weak in aperture speed over 50mm. I'd probably mount the Tamron 90 and Tamron 17-50, and keep the F50/1.7 (and maybe DA35/2.4) in my pocket.
01-30-2014, 12:49 AM   #6
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Both will give good results with 1.8 or faster lens.
01-30-2014, 12:51 AM   #7
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A difficult question
I don't trust the K5 autofous - the K3 beats it hands down
I prefer the cleaner images from the K5
I would go the K3 because I would have less to worry about
01-30-2014, 01:40 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Depends on the venue. Where you shooting from? You've gotten good advice, use both bodies, one wide lens and one longer. Use raw and manual exposure. Meters will be no help. You have lots of DR on both bodies so underexposing is okay.

Most stages are about EV 7 or 8 (ISO 100) so ISO 3200, f4 and 1/320 and you're in the ball park. You can go up or down a stop in ISO as needed. Keep it in the ball park by checking your histogram.

Establish focus and maintain with rear AF. K-5 will do fine. Newer bodies like k5-IIs and K-3 are better in low light but K-5 is capable.


Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 12-03-2014 at 09:18 PM.
01-30-2014, 02:46 AM   #9
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From what I've seen, the K5 class only beats the K3 on an ISO basis PER PIXEL. That means if you downscale the 24MP image, the K-3 will be just as good if not better. I'd choose the K-3 every time.
02-09-2014, 03:19 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I shoot both K5 & K3 on a regular basis for live music / dance. Ususally a 35mm f2,4 on the K5 and the 50-135 f2,8 or Sigma 70-200mm f2,8 on the K3.

Both cameras are very good for this job, but my main camera is the K3 because of the AF mainly. Shooting HighSpeed drive mode is a nice feature when in low light and subject is moving.
I tend not to shoot above ISO 1600 and I've got a USER mode for Concert shooting.

If I had to choose I'll go with the K3.

Below are very low lightning concert I did with K3:

















02-09-2014, 11:28 PM   #11
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Those are some great shots @DimC. Interesting advice, I wonder if the K-3's rap in low light is partially just people justifying or rationalizing why they don't upgrade.
02-10-2014, 02:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Those are some great shots @DimC. Interesting advice, I wonder if the K-3's rap in low light is partially just people justifying or rationalizing why they don't upgrade.
The K5' sensor is really good for concert, no doubt about that, but the added value of the K3 is more on the features of the camera, like the AF in Low light and the HighSpeed drive mode.
+ You can add the Double SDCard which is one of the thing makes me confident when I shoot for customers.

In terms of Post processing, I had to change my habit a little when working with K3's files. It's a little bit longer mainly because Im still in a learning process with denoise but that's ok.
The Auto WB is usually very very good, doesnt matter much because I shoot DNG's but that's cool.
Im trying more and more to do all my PostProcessing in Lr, and at the end I go to NikSoftware's ColorEfexPro or SilverEfexPro for the polishing touch.

There is somehting that I can't explain, the prints from the K3, even at the same size than K5, are way better, the rendering is stunning (Im using the same lab for the last couple years).
02-10-2014, 04:07 AM   #13
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I shoot a lot of concerts (7000 shots in the last week). I have previously owned two K-5's, and now have a K-5IIs and a K-3. I often still get usable shots when the CaNikonists walk away shaking their heads.

Last Friday
The previous Friday

Short answer: K-3 all the way. Not only the improved AF, but the reserves of resolution left for cropping .

Last edited by Sandy Hancock; 02-10-2014 at 04:17 AM.
02-10-2014, 04:29 AM   #14
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I shot with a K30 previously but the K3 is so much more sure with its metering and focus locking in low light. It's great to shoot gigs with.

02-10-2014, 10:43 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I shoot a lot of shows too. I used to use my K200D and my KX for years. The KX did really well in dark and LED light. I now use my K3 with the KX as a back up. I'm still getting used to my K3 but it seems great and very forgiving.

The first shot I mistakenly set the ISO super high, the second one was in a very dark venue, and the third one was just fine.

K3 - ISO 16,000
Panic! At The Disco


K3 - ISO 5,000 pushed +1
Paula Boggs Band


K3 ISO 1600
David Garrett

Last edited by john5100; 02-10-2014 at 10:55 AM.
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