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02-12-2014, 06:56 PM - 1 Like   #1
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K-5/K-3 low light, wide open, 3 lenses comparison.

I received my K-3 today. I decided to wait to open the package, as I was watching my 10 month baby girl today, not to mention it was time to go pick up my other daughter from school. I would have lost track of time, space and reality as a whole by opening the Pandorama box. I'm not going to ignore my K-4 student in favor of a stupid K-3 body.

Anyways after 5 minutes I change my mind and go grab the box. She can walk home. It's pretty mild out today in Milwaukee, that 19 degree feels like spring actually.

So I open the box, it's poorly packaged as usual but everything inside looks intact.

First impression is how cold the body is. No worries here as it spent the whole day in the back of a UPS truck traveling around South Eastern Wisconsin. I've never had any trouble with Pentax gear in freezing cold temperatures by the way, thanks to the in-body shake reduction system I guess... (Sorry about that, I'm tired)

I'm now ready to mount my favorite lenses. The test is simple, I'm going to try them all wide open in the low light of my office, maybe expecting a little better than the relatively soft results I was getting with my K-5s under the same conditions.

And then...Revelation! Whaaaaat? Every single shot no hunt, right on focus. Tack sharp wide open. Legacy glass, newer one, It doesn't matter. I have some good glass but still. My FA50 required a +6 fine adjustment with both my K-5s, with the Sigma DC 17-50 my ratio of keeper at f2.8 was just too low, same thing with the DA50-135, even at short distance.

I ran the same test again with my K-5 and, sure enough, 100% crops don't look nearly as optimal wide open except for the FA 50 BUT with a +6 adjustment.

I looked at my K-5 ... You b@st#rd! It was you!

I really thought I couldn't expect such sharpness and accuracy from my lenses wide open. This is going to give me so much more flexibility and DOF control! Of course I have to run some more extensive field testing but the first images under challenging conditions look very very good.

I will try my best to find the time to post a side by side K-3/K-5 comparison with 3 or 4 different lenses, wide open, low light with no fine adjustments ASAP.

If my kids let me...

COMPARISON EDIT 2/13/14: Alright here's what I was talking about. side by side K-5/K-3 under very specific conditions and settings: indoor with low natural light (coming side ways in this case), AV priority wide open with 3 different fine lenses. ISO locked at 400. I took 3 shots for each setting and even though the K-3 showed very consistent results, the K-5 AF performed with variation of accuracy so I only picked the sharpest picture of the 3 from the K-5.
DNG files, converted to 1280x800 Jpeg but with no other post processing involved.

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Last edited by nicoprod; 02-13-2014 at 07:16 PM. Reason: Add comparisons
02-12-2014, 07:31 PM   #2
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Can't wait to see those comparisons!
Enjoy your new camera!
02-12-2014, 11:42 PM   #3
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You are making this so tempting. I had a similar experience when I made the jump from K-x to K-30 and the next time I upgrade bodies I will probably have a similar experience again. Just building out the rest of my kit now and my plan is to upgrade bodies to the K-3's successor when that ultimately comes out because I think I will have most of the lenses I want by then.

I do think having to overcome, understand, and work within the limitations of the camera's capabilities for automagicly taking pretty pictures has helped me become more disciplined and make the pictures that I want by using the camera in a very deliberate manner.
02-13-2014, 01:00 AM - 1 Like   #4
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What a nice first impressions post on K3! You sure like to 'burn' us with jealousy. Dont you? I know how it feels when you discover you were getting screwed by a trusty old friend I just returned a perfectly fine brand new Sigma 17-50 2.8 back to BHPhoto. Why? I think my K10D was the culprit. The erratic and sporadic focusing hunting,back focus behavior led me to return what I believe was a fine piece of lens.
I guess I didnt have a great body (pun inteded!) worthy of the hallowed Sigma 17-50 I just hope I dont have to wait till Black Friday 2014 for my K3....

02-13-2014, 06:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I do think having to overcome, understand, and work within the limitations of the camera's capabilities for automagicly taking pretty pictures has helped me become more disciplined and make the pictures that I want by using the camera in a very deliberate manner.
Agreed. I'm a young pro and I can't miss the key shots. Working with the K-5 in low light forced me to learn how to operate manually to secure my shots, which helped me with flash techniques, slow shutter and all that fun stuff.



QuoteOriginally posted by danny09 Quote
What a nice first impressions post on K3! You sure like to 'burn' us with jealousy. Dont you? I know how it feels when you discover you were getting screwed by a trusty old friend I just returned a perfectly fine brand new Sigma 17-50 2.8 back to BHPhoto. Why? I think my K10D was the culprit. The erratic and sporadic focusing hunting,back focus behavior led me to return what I believe was a fine piece of lens.
I guess I didnt have a great body (pun inteded!) worthy of the hallowed Sigma 17-50 I just hope I dont have to wait till Black Friday 2014 for my K3....
The Sigma DC 17-50 is my most trustworthy lens on my K-5.
02-13-2014, 06:54 AM   #6
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Stop taunting us. Just when I think there's no great reason to upgrade I see one of these posts. I don't have the money for a K3, dammit! Not after the recent vet bill.
02-13-2014, 07:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Can't wait to see those comparisons!
Enjoy your new camera!
Comparisons available, see original post on top.

Last edited by nicoprod; 02-13-2014 at 07:14 PM.
02-13-2014, 07:16 PM   #8
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Do you have a DA16-50 to try it out?

My DA16-50 always have difficulty in focus in mix lighting situation (under tree / shadow area in day light) with my K5.

first post making me tempting to get K-3, even though I have K5IIs.

02-13-2014, 07:26 PM   #9
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I tried the 3 fast zooms (tamron, sigma, Pentax) awhile ago and decided to go with the Sigma for it's great sharpness and AF accuracy / silence. My only problem was at 2.8, until I tried it on a K-3... It's just a dream on the K-3.
02-13-2014, 07:38 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Yes, K-5, IT WAS you.

I was never very happy with my K-5's PDAF. CDAF was fine, but both my K-5s struggled to nail focus using PDAF and fast lenses, e.g. FA 50 1.7. And almost all my lenses needed microfocus adjustments - and some adjustments had to be changed depending on how close the focus was. Even in bright light fast lenses and the K-5 didn't play well together, but the K-5's PDAF was really pathetic in moderate to low tungsten light.

I find the K-5II's PDAF MUCH more reliable than the K-5. So much so that I've replaced both my K-5 cameras with two K-5II. For me the improved AF was worth the upgrade.

Just like your K-3, my K-5II nails focus every time without any adjustment.

Here are two threads by user "stormtech" that describe his experiences with the PDAF of his K-5 & K-5IIs very nicely (I had exactly the same experience):

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
AF consistency is not so great with my K-5. I guess a proper term might me AF float?
QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
I would have to say that my upgrade from the K-5 to the K-5IIs has been one of the best decisions I've made.


I have no doubt the dodgy PDAF in the K-5 was what pushed one of the very few professional Pentax photogs, Benjamin Kanarek ("benjikan"), to sell his K-5, stop using Pentax SLRs and move to Nikon. He did keep his K-01 with its CDAF-only for video work.

QuoteQuote:
In most cases Pentax did the editing for us by alleviating around 40 percent of the images due to them being unacceptably blurred and just not sharp enough...
I sold my K-5 and moved to the K-5II. No learning curve: same lenses, same batteries, same grip, same layout, same controls, but MUCH more accurate AF. I couldn't be happier!

Last edited by Gray; 02-13-2014 at 08:24 PM.
02-13-2014, 08:35 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gray Quote
Just like your K-3, my K-5II nails focus every time without any adjustment.
I might get one of those to replace my K-5 back up. They should have fixed this AF float earlier, I almost moved to Nikon myself...

Last edited by nicoprod; 02-13-2014 at 08:41 PM.
02-13-2014, 08:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gray Quote
I sold my K-5 and moved to the K-5II. No learning curve: same lenses, same batteries, same grip, same layout, same controls, but MUCH more accurate AF. I couldn't be happier!
Ditto for me - well the K-5 is in storage awaiting a shop tuneup before it can sell. The II is a fast and accurate focuser, its AFc updates faster, f/2.8 sensitivity, and expanded AF. Yeah like reviews say, it's "mostly an AF update" - but SAFOX X (and now XI) are definitely worth having for how I shoot. ( OK the new rear screen is wonderful too )
02-17-2014, 10:11 AM   #13
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Thanks for the update, those comparison images are pretty compelling.
02-17-2014, 12:00 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by nicoprod Quote
I might get one of those to replace my K-5 back up. They should have fixed this AF float earlier, I almost moved to Nikon myself...
Nice to see another Pentax user here in New Berlin. I'm glad the K3 is working out for you - enjoy the snow today!
02-17-2014, 03:05 PM   #15
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Well, alas, I can't afford a K5II let alone a K3 so I guess I'm just going to have to get either a K5 or a K-30 and settle for sucky AF? ARRGH. This thread drove me about crazy. I was thisclose to buying one or the other and now I'm second guessing myself again! I really don't like the K3 though anyway. The way it's laid out I just like the K5 better but AF and WR are why I need to upgrade so this thread is....frustrating....
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