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08-08-2014, 12:56 PM   #1
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K-3 vs K5 iis sharpness

I'd like to upgrade from my current K-5 after Photokina later this year. I'm wondering why some folks claim that the K-5 IIs is sharper than the K-3. Is there some logical reason for that......?
I know that there's about a 8MP difference in resolution and it would seem to me that the K-3 would win hands down. One of the main reasons that I'm considering upgrading is the lack of the AA filter....otherwise I've been pretty happy with the K-5.
However, after seeing results from my Ricoh GR - which does not have an AA filter - I really think I'd see a noticeable differnce with my all my prime lenses and I'm getting a little excited about that.


Last edited by peterjcb; 08-08-2014 at 01:02 PM.
08-08-2014, 01:06 PM   #2
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The K-3 has 50% more pixels, which really makes a difference when scaling and cropping. The removal of the AA filter, on the other hand, is comparable to sharpening in post. Yes, it makes a difference, but IMO if you're going to upgrade, go ahead and treat yourself to the latest and greatest, especially if you already have a GR.

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08-08-2014, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thanks Adam, I took your advice on getting the GR a couple of months ago and it is one of the best camera purchases I've ever made without question.
I will probably upgrade to the K-3 depending on what shows up at Photokina....maybe FF....
However, is there a reason that some people claim the K-5 IIs is sharper or maybe I'm using the wrong terminology...is it less/more noise?
08-08-2014, 01:32 PM   #4
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Sometimes I would say that the K5IIs is sharper, but at the pixel level. When viewed at 100% I sometimes prefer the K5IIs to the K3. However, when printing a normal photo the overall sharpness of the K3 is higher. There are so many things that affect sharpness such as did the lens focus correctly and aperture of the lens it is difficult to compare directly.

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08-08-2014, 01:49 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
I'd like to upgrade from my current K-5 after Photokina later this year. I'm wondering why some folks claim that the K-5 IIs is sharper than the K-3. Is there some logical reason for that......?
I know that there's about a 8MP difference in resolution and it would seem to me that the K-3 would win hands down. One of the main reasons that I'm considering upgrading is the lack of the AA filter....otherwise I've been pretty happy with the K-5.
However, after seeing results from my Ricoh GR - which does not have an AA filter - I really think I'd see a noticeable differnce with my all my prime lenses and I'm getting a little excited about that.
Peter,
A full agreement with Adam, Peter. I just changed from a K-5 to a K-3 for Ospreys over on Mtn. Island Lake(Mt. Holly near you) nature, landscapes and travel. Using primarily a DA 15, 40, 55-300 and older F series, the cropping ability is truly superior and post work is just as easy. Macro on the Tamron 90 seems to be even sharper as well. Weight difference is negligible when in hand. After seeing crowds of humongous canikon lenses and no lens shades on virtually all DSLRs the last two weeks in Alaska, it was a pleasure to use the 40 Ltd and get the usual stares of where's the lens? I don't know if B&H still has a deal on the flash/battery grip but even my thrifty wife said to go for it and it has made a noticeable difference in end product and workability. I put a few in the K-3/Post your photos yesterday from our trip if you're interested. Highly recommended!
08-08-2014, 02:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lukulele Quote
Peter,
A full agreement with Adam, Peter. I just changed from a K-5 to a K-3 for Ospreys over on Mtn. Island Lake(Mt. Holly near you) nature, landscapes and travel. Using primarily a DA 15, 40, 55-300 and older F series, the cropping ability is truly superior and post work is just as easy. Macro on the Tamron 90 seems to be even sharper as well. Weight difference is negligible when in hand. After seeing crowds of humongous canikon lenses and no lens shades on virtually all DSLRs the last two weeks in Alaska, it was a pleasure to use the 40 Ltd and get the usual stares of where's the lens? I don't know if B&H still has a deal on the flash/battery grip but even my thrifty wife said to go for it and it has made a noticeable difference in end product and workability. I put a few in the K-3/Post your photos yesterday from our trip if you're interested. Highly recommended!
...just curious, are you a runner in the Charlotte area named Richard? If so then I know you, and we need to talk Pentax instead of running the next time we meet...possiblly at this Sunday's SLR unsanctioned half-marathon down on the Greenway....

I'm familiar with the K-3 as I purchased one last December and returned it for a couple of reasons. I'll check out the photos later...
08-08-2014, 02:50 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
However, is there a reason that some people claim the K-5 IIs is sharper or maybe I'm using the wrong terminology...is it less/more noise?
The K-3 seems to have slightly more noise at very high ISO. From the comparison samples I've seen, it is extremely slight and you have to be looking for the difference to see it. I went with the K-5IIs because of cost difference. If that isn't a factor in your decision then go with the K-3.
08-08-2014, 02:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
The K-3 seems to have slightly more noise at very high ISO. From the comparison samples I've seen, it is extremely slight and you have to be looking for the difference to see it. I went with the K-5IIs because of cost difference. If that isn't a factor in your decision then go with the K-3.
Unfortunately once you see it, you can't unsee it. Most of the time the K-3 is just flat out sharper, IN low light or High ISO, someimtes the noise from the K-3 is worrisome. Worrysome in the sense you need to spend a least and extra 3mm in PP to get what you want.

08-08-2014, 03:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Worrysome in the sense you need to spend a least and extra 3mm in PP to get what you want.
So is my impression that , in essence, the issue is a non-issue in a practical sense?
08-08-2014, 03:21 PM   #10
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I've also been debating upgrading.. from the K5IIs. My assumption was the extra resolution would outweigh any high iso performance issues. And since I mostly shoot landscapes from a tripod at iso 80 regardless of light, high iso performance is not a big concern for me. I understand the K5IIs has a bit more DR, but is it enough of a difference in practice to worry about. Also on sharpness, wondering if the increased resolution is emphasizing technique or focus issues, resulting in the perception it's less sharp when in fact the problem is something else?
08-08-2014, 03:41 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Sharpness is not resolution.

Sharpness is generally considered to be acutance, which is related to perception and the resolving power of the human eye and the way the brain interprets visual information. The K-5IIs may well have more perceived sharpness (acutance) in certain situations than the K-3, taking contrast, noise and cropping into account, but the K-3 would always have superior resolving power with the same lens attached. At the pixel level the K-5 has less noise than the K-3 and so the advantages (of k-3) may only be apparent at low iso's when extreme cropping is needed. All the same the ability to crop is almost as good as being able to afford a super telephoto:

Different images taken seconds apart with a D800e and a 70-200, the latter one being cropped to 100%.




PS: I have some images of one of my cats which look very soft when viewing the full image on screen, but when zoomed in you can see every hair (D800e); it can depend on the nature of the subject and the lighting as to the perceived sharpness.

Last edited by bossa; 08-08-2014 at 04:03 PM.
08-08-2014, 04:20 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
So is my impression that , in essence, the issue is a non-issue in a practical sense?
For me, since I still have my K-5, I can pick it up and use it whenever I want. SO far I haven't. So in a way, I can say whatever I want, my subconscious won't let me use the K-5.

QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
Sharpness is not resolution.

Sharpness is generally considered to be acutance, which is related to perception and the resolving power of the human eye and the way the brain interprets visual information. The K-5IIs may well have more perceived sharpness (acutance) in certain situations than the K-3, taking contrast, noise and cropping into account, but the K-3 would always have superior resolving power with the same lens attached. At the pixel level the K-5 has less noise than the K-3 and so the advantages (of k-3) may only be apparent at low iso's when extreme cropping is needed. All the same the ability to crop is almost as good as being able to afford a super telephoto:

Different images taken seconds apart with a D800e and a 70-200, the latter one being cropped to 100%.




PS: I have some images of one of my cats which look very soft when viewing the full image on screen, but when zoomed in you can see every hair (D800e); it can depend on the nature of the subject and the lighting as to the perceived sharpness.
This is exactly why resolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There are just many images where the resolution isn't important, because details are too small to see, and when you view them at 300 dpi for printing instead of 72 dpi like your screen, they'll be even harder to see.
08-08-2014, 04:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
For me, since I still have my K-5, I can pick it up and use it whenever I want. SO far I haven't. So in a way, I can say whatever I want, my subconscious won't let me use the K-5.



This is exactly why resolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There are just many images where the resolution isn't important, because details are too small to see, and when you view them at 300 dpi for printing instead of 72 dpi like your screen, they'll be even harder to see.
I agree Norm. I was messing around with different techniques of "sharpening" with Photoshop the other day and the result which created the most punch - for the output format - actually destroyed fine detail in favor of large scale image components. Obviously the size of the output would affect the kind of treatment chosen.

I need to read up on this stuff again but monitors are usually measured in pixels per inch - Macintosh OS uses 72PPI, Windows uses 96PP. (I think my 27" dell is around the 119dpi mark but the OS reduces it to 96)

Last edited by bossa; 08-08-2014 at 05:00 PM.
08-08-2014, 05:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
Different images taken seconds apart with a D800e and a 70-200
Those iconic Stobie poles... Images are so visually anchored to one place by them.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
This is exactly why resolution isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Also acutance, resolving power, sharpness etc of an image will also depend (of course) on lack of motion blur. Shaky hands, or a windy day while the camera is on a tripod, means resolution degrades. 1% camera shake may effectively turn your 50MP camera into a 36MP one. Probably only the rarest photos any of us would ever take would have motion blur fully absent from the image.
08-08-2014, 05:45 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Those iconic Stobie poles... Images are so visually anchored to one place by them.



Also acutance, resolving power, sharpness etc of an image will also depend (of course) on lack of motion blur. Shaky hands, or a windy day while the camera is on a tripod, means resolution degrades. 1% camera shake may effectively turn your 50MP camera into a 36MP one. Probably only the rarest photos any of us would ever take would have motion blur fully absent from the image.
Wow! you know about Stobie poles (I'm shocked)

Actually, the D800E is better handheld than on a tripod - the mirror and shutter are so violent that the flesh of the hand actually absorbs the shock better than a rigid tripod. On a tripod you really need MUP, and delayed shutter, to get the most out of the camera. The D810 is another story though, as shutter/mirror shock are greatly reduced on that camera.

The other issue is forgetting to switch OFF SR/VR/VC/OS (whatever) at higher shutter speeds. It can actually introduce blur if one leaves it on beyond where it's really needed.
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