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07-24-2014, 12:10 PM   #1
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K-30 to K-3 for low light action and shutter noise...worth the jump?

I'm a proud user of the K-30. I've had it for just shy of 2 years and use it regularly with a pair of 17-50mm f/2.8 Tamron and 50-150mm f/2.8 Sigma fast zooms.


Lately, I've been doing more and more event/stage photography, typically with fast moving subjects and often in extremely variable indoor, low-light conditions. My lenses give me great range and seem to gather plenty of light, but the K-30's AF seems to take quite some time to lock on to a subject in these low light conditions and, even then, the focus misses easily in low-contrast situations. I often try to pre-focus (?) in anticipation of a shot when I can, but sometimes it just doesn't fire off as quickly as I need it to and, when shooting bellydancers for example, which is a favorite of mine and involves very swift movements and constantly changing lighting as they move about in a room or on stage, I need to get a lot of "keeper" shots made in a very short period of time (i.e. the length of a song).


My other issue is the shutter noise. The K-30's shutter certainly loves to exude its operational confidence to the world, but it is quite distracting in a quiet performance and I hesitate to use it for weddings, etc as it is so clunky and audible.


So, these are my questions...


1) Does the K-3 represent a solid improvement in the low-light AF performance of the K-30 (enough to warrant the additional $$$ for my purpose)?


2) Does the K-3 have a more pleasant shutter when it comes to noise/loudness in operation?


3) As a budding professional, does the additional resolution/megapixels of the K-3 offer any advantages as I get more serious about my business?


I would be looking to sell the K-30 to put towards the purchase of the K-3 if it addresses these primary concerns.


Thanks!

07-24-2014, 12:20 PM   #2
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1) Yes
2) Yes
3) Depends. If you need the extra space to crop, yes. For printing or web use the k-30 is likely to have enough megapixels to handle most anything unless you are printing very large. For most situations I down size images I sell even from the k-5IIs as the 16mp is not needed. The k-3 images are also almost always down sized, from 24mp to 14mp before they get sent to the agencies.

The k-3 is a significant step up. Not to put the k-30 down, it is an excellent camera, but it is targeted at a different market. The k-3 is a semi-pro / pro level camera with features, construction and ergonomics to match. More buttons, more features but it also is more complicated and weighs more and costs more.
07-24-2014, 12:48 PM   #3
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Here's a video with a sound comparison:

An old manual focus lens using catch-in-focus can be pretty good at capturing moving objects.
07-24-2014, 12:56 PM   #4
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The last thing a budding professional needs to do is to sell his second body so he only has one camera.


You can guarantee as sure as eggs is eggs that on your most important and lucrative gig your only camera body malfunctions and your left with those eggs on your face and no images.


As a professional could you afford a 2 month wait for your k3 to be repaired due to an unforeseen incident and your left with no camera and no source of income.


A professional isn't a professional because he produces top images, hes a professional because he produces top images come what may.

07-24-2014, 04:41 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the quick replies!


QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Here's a video with a sound comparison:


So, it seems the shutter of the K-3 isn't significantly more quiet, but is somehow less brash...perhaps somewhere between the K-5 and K-30 in annoyance. That drawn out, clunky sound in the video is exactly how my K-30 sounds. It's ok for a shot or two, but gets old when you're firing off hundreds of shots at an event.




QuoteOriginally posted by Imageman Quote
The last thing a budding professional needs to do is to sell his second body so he only has one camera.


I have thought about this, also. Would it be worth selling the K-30 and picking up a K-5 II or IIs as a backup?


Lastly, is there an expectation that prices will go down on the K-3 closer to Photokina? Right now, B&H has a deal where you buy a K-3 body and get both the battery grip and 16GB FluCard free, plus you can add the last-gen AF540 flash and a 50mm f/1.8 prime for another $200, bringing the total to $1414 for everything. Think it will get better than that?
07-24-2014, 05:06 PM   #6
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Your k30 is 16 megapixels, theres no point in getting rid of it its perfect as a second body.
07-24-2014, 05:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Masta' C Quote
So, it seems the shutter of the K-3 isn't significantly more quiet, but is somehow less brash...perhaps somewhere between the K-5 and K-30 in annoyance.
I am sure it is subjective but I just love the sound of the k-3 shutter. That was one of the main exclamation points in the original k-3 threads when it was introduced. Many people noted that it was wonderful. However, I am not sure what the sound of the shutter has to do with good images. I mean I love the sound but I'm not buying a camera solely on shutter sound. On the other hand an annoying shutter is not good either. Some of the Canon ones are just plain in your face obnoxious.

I do not think anyone knows how low the k-3 will go. Certainly there are starting to be good deals out there. k-3, grip, FLU card, 50mm and 540 flash for $1414? Sounds pretty good to me. Will it go lower? Maybe but Ricoh has been good about inventory control, better than the competition so I do not expect to see fire sale prices on the k-3. Even if a new body is introduced at Photokina I do not think it will be a direct k-3 replacement.
07-24-2014, 05:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Masta' C Quote


So, it seems the shutter of the K-3 isn't significantly more quiet, but is somehow less brash...perhaps somewhere between the K-5 and K-30 in annoyance. That drawn out, clunky sound in the video is exactly how my K-30 sounds. It's ok for a shot or two, but gets old when you're firing off hundreds
I made that video, the sound of the K-3 is more refined than the K-30 and not as loud, although it is a bit louder than the K-5 which is super quiet.
The FPS difference is astounding, you will need bigger cards if you have an itchy trigger finger as the camera will click off a ton of shots in no time.

The body is in a different class altogether as others have stated, heavier and tight with all controls where you need them.

Another difference is the responsiveness of the processor; the K-3 can shoot a series and almost immediately allow review. With the K-5 there is a wait before you can review shots from a shutter run.

I agree with others about keeping a backup if you are going pro. I'm not a pro and still couldn't see myself without a camera if it goes in for repair.

Also, depending on type of events having two bodies with with two different lenses at the ready would be an advantage. In that case you may end up wanting a second K-3 or K-5iis.

07-24-2014, 06:27 PM   #9
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That's good to hear. The shutter noise of the K-30 isn't a deal breaker and I've gotten along with it for 2 years, but it's really my only dislike about the camera aside from the low-light AF performance, which is still really good compared to most.


Since I already have nice lenses, I'm planning on staying with the APS-C format. As long as a "K-3 II" doesn't come out in a couple months, I'm thinking the K-3 is worth the price of admission.


One more question...how is the battery life on the K-3? I'm surprised at the life I get out of my K-30 without a grip.
07-24-2014, 07:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Masta' C Quote
One more question...how is the battery life on the K-3?
I generally shoot all day on one battery. I think my highest shutter count was over 750. But it will vary depending on how many bursts you do and how often you review shots and how long you have things set to stay on. As others have said being a 'pro' means no excuses so I would never say go out with only one battery, I always carry two spares but rarely use the spare.
07-24-2014, 07:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Masta' C Quote
That's good to hear. The shutter noise of the K-30 isn't a deal breaker and I've gotten along with it for 2 years, but it's really my only dislike about the camera aside from the low-light AF performance, which is still really good compared to most.


Since I already have nice lenses, I'm planning on staying with the APS-C format. As long as a "K-3 II" doesn't come out in a couple months, I'm thinking the K-3 is worth the price of admission.


One more question...how is the battery life on the K-3? I'm surprised at the life I get out of my K-30 without a grip.
Battery life on the K-3 is very good, it uses a larger battery than the K-30 so it lasts longer.
I haven't counted the shots I can get out of one, but when I shoot dance competitions I can go through two 16GB cards in a day without having to change the battery.
In normal use I can shoot for a few days on the same battery; on both the K-5 and the K-3 battery life is very long.
(This is using the optical viewfinder - I rarely use live view.)

*I do carry spares just in case.*
07-24-2014, 09:17 PM   #12
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I really appreciate all the information and input. For the record, I always carry plenty of spare batteries (I've done full day shoots, amassing thousands of shots, and have yet to find myself stranded without juice).


The issue with the 2nd body was more of a financial concern before now, but I have long recognized the need for one. I have been rather lucky getting by with a single body up to this point, but I was thinking I could put the proceeds from the K-30 toward a K-3 and grab a K-5 II or IIs as a backup in the next month or two, since the price for those on the used market has come down so much and they are more similar to the K-3 in feel and function, from what I understand.


Any other suggestions, thoughts or input is greatly appreciated.
07-25-2014, 09:00 PM   #13
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If I was equipping from scratch as a pro and wanted to be sensible with money, this is what id do.

2x k5 (good enough for pro output)
1 ext grip
1 remote release
3 dedicated swivel tilt flash (with triggers)
1 tripod
sd cards
reflectors (snoots, scrims, studio flash, backdrops)
plus anything you need for your chosen area of work.


The reasoning behind this is you save a ton of money kitting yourself around the k5 platform and as you were considering a k5 second body and the k5 produces in my opinion pro quality images anyway, buying 2 examples of this model is a natural choice instead of 2 different models.


You will get identical performance from both cameras and only have one set of menus to learn.


Changing between bodies means no double takes slow downs hesitation or interruption in productivity.


The 2 bodies can be set up for 2 standard methods of working with 2 different lenses if most of your imagemaking is done with 2 lenses, you leave one on each body, they never get swapped and sensor dust becomes a thing of the past, both cameras produce identical images so they operate as though your swapping lenses but slicker and everything is interchangeable.


And more than this you operate in a totally professional and productive way. The client has confidence in your manner of working and professionalism and you can charge accordingly.
07-26-2014, 07:06 AM   #14
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A good rule of thumb is this. Two is one and one is none, And three is even better.

21 years ago afriend of mine and his buddy got their pictures in National Geographic. The story was about lightning and he and his buddy had built a pretty big Tesla coil in his garage. National Geographic heard about it somehow, called and asked if they could photograph it for their article. They agreed. They were like WOW! Nerds making it into National Geographic! Right up there with Sir Edmund Hillary.

The photographer shows up with his gear including two Nikon F5's and his totally manual Leica M3. At that time, Nikon ruled the world of 35mm professional photography and the F5 was their star. A phenomenal camera with a price tag to match. So he sets up the shot, has his camera set up, directs them as to where he wants them to sit and tells them to fire the beast up. The EMP from the Tesla coil fried the circuitry in his Nikon. It just blasted through the whole roll of film and the mirror kept flapping until the photographer pulled the batteries out, (Sound familiar?) This did not seem to phase the photographer at all. He simply dug out the Leica M3 and the shoot was done using that camera. This is how pros think. Always capture the image. The cameras is merely a tool and tools break. For this pro his ultimate backup was a totally manual system built like a tank and sporting world class optics.

Since film is still readily available and if I were allowed to own only one camera, my choice would be the Leica M3. Possibly the finest instrument for capturing images ever made. A hand crafted work of art. Darn, now I am longing for one. And some lford B&W film. I think I am detecting a faint odor of fixer too!
07-26-2014, 11:14 AM   #15
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I love that tesla coil story, it hit home because ive done some work with high voltage, its a funny but sad story and its true you have to be very careful around HT, it has to be watched and sometimes it does some very strange things.


And in case anyone is wondering how dangerous HT and tesla coils can be, 150,000 doesn't always kill but it does hurt like ********* , I have first hand knowledge of that. If it had been the output of a tesla, I wouldn't be writing this, or anything else for that matter.
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