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08-19-2014, 04:41 AM   #1
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What's the deal with K-3 poor high ISO performance

I own a K-5iis which i mainly use for birding. Coupled with the Sigma 300mm EX DG f2.8 and 1.4x or 2x teleconverter is a really nice combo. I been really tempted to "upgrade" to K-3, because of the better crop fractor on the 24Mpx sensor, and in my research been browsing the K-3 threads, looking at the pictures our members have shot (focusing on wildlife pictures) and generally almost all of these pictures have noticeable noise at ISO 640 and higher. I know that the K-3 has faster buffer, more sophisticated AF-C with better tracking, but is it really worth the jump when you getting worst low light performance (albeit better AF)?

08-19-2014, 05:05 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I thought this subject was beaten to death already.

Each individual pixel on the K-3's sensor is smaller than on the K-5. so all other things being equal, each pixel receives less light. Which means that noise PER PIXEL will likely be higher. The signal-to-noise ratio is dominated by electronic noise, which is pretty much constant, and the signal (light) is lower.

HOWEVER...

The camera has more resolution. So that means :

1-you can downsample your image to better average the noise

2-when you print, if you compare similarly-sized prints of identical images made with the K-3 and K-5, the K-3 image will not be worse. It's quite likely to be better.

In other words, there is more noise per pixel, but there's a lot more of them.

I regularly shoot at ISO 6400 and never has noise been an issue. If you're really worried, just use the camera at 14 MP and its built-in algorithms will downsample for you. I do that often.
08-19-2014, 05:09 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I regularly shoot at ISO 6400 and never has noise been an issue. If you're really worried, just use the camera at 14 MP and its built-in algorithms will downsample for you. I do that often.
I appreciate the response. Do you have a particular software or workflow when it comes to post-processing K-3 raw images at high ISO?
08-19-2014, 05:34 AM   #4
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I find my K-3 images processed in DxO Optics Pro to have very little noise especially if I keep the ISO to 2500 or below. However, the minute you start "stretching" the curves (especially with any pseudo HDR algorithms) the noise goes up significantly. So perhaps noise is being amplified by your RAW processing software? Or perhaps you are using a feature of your RAW converter that is adding to the noise?

YMMV

Michael

08-19-2014, 05:37 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I thought this subject was beaten to death already.

Each individual pixel on the K-3's sensor is smaller than on the K-5. so all other things being equal, each pixel receives less light. Which means that noise PER PIXEL will likely be higher. The signal-to-noise ratio is dominated by electronic noise, which is pretty much constant, and the signal (light) is lower.

HOWEVER...

The camera has more resolution. So that means :

1-you can downsample your image to better average the noise

2-when you print, if you compare similarly-sized prints of identical images made with the K-3 and K-5, the K-3 image will not be worse. It's quite likely to be better.

In other words, there is more noise per pixel, but there's a lot more of them.

I regularly shoot at ISO 6400 and never has noise been an issue. If you're really worried, just use the camera at 14 MP and its built-in algorithms will downsample for you. I do that often.
But he aks this specificly to crop the hell out of the sensor. So he will end up with more noise. So a longer lens would serve him better (or being more patient with birding).
08-19-2014, 06:22 AM   #6
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Stop shooting high ISO and spend $50 on a cheap flash and Better Beamer Flash extender. I get far less keepers because of focus accuracy than I do because of lack of light so as soon as I'm able I'm upgrading to the K-3 or its replacement for birds/wildlife.

08-19-2014, 06:33 AM   #7
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You're right. The K-3 totally sucks at high ISO.



08-19-2014, 07:18 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
You're right. The K-3 totally sucks at high ISO.


thnx for sharing, some EXIF info would help

08-19-2014, 07:26 AM   #9
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I think k5 and k3 are the same with regard to high ISO situations. Dxo Mark tested them the same. Only negative on the K3 sensor is the lack of ISO 80.
08-19-2014, 07:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I thought this subject was beaten to death already.
Apparently not! This thread ramped up fast including low res photos with visible noise!

As for the title of this thread, the answer is simple. Higher sensel density increases potential for noise. It comes with the territory. The K-3's high ISO performance is consistent for high resolution APS-C cameras. If you want higher than K-5 resolution and low noise your options are not in the APS-C realm.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-19-2014 at 07:58 AM.
08-19-2014, 07:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Apparently not! This thread ramped up fast including low res photos with visible noise!


Steve
He shot the first image at ISO 25600, the second at 12800, that's decent performance from the sensor.
08-19-2014, 10:15 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stavri Quote
I appreciate the response. Do you have a particular software or workflow when it comes to post-processing K-3 raw images at high ISO?
I often shoot JPEGs, but in any case everything is processed in lightroom.

QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
So he will end up with more noise.
Yes, but measurably? I doubt it.
08-19-2014, 11:41 AM   #13
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I agree with everyone saying that noise is equal between the K-5 and K-3, but I frequently take advantage of the K-3's heavy cropping capability. When I do, sometimes I see a bothersome amount of noise. The K-3 has resolution to spare. When I do see noise in a photo, I use Noiseware Standard Edition. One click and the noise is gone, and still plenty of detail.
08-19-2014, 11:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by halfspin Quote
Stop shooting high ISO and spend $50 on a cheap flash and Better Beamer Flash extender. I get far less keepers because of focus accuracy than I do because of lack of light so as soon as I'm able I'm upgrading to the K-3 or its replacement for birds/wildlife.
Many wildlife photogs dislike flash due to artificial-looking color response and tonality, although some photogs learn to do quite well with it.

Also, flash sometimes annoys the critters.
08-19-2014, 11:53 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Many wildlife photogs dislike flash due to artificial-looking color response and tonality, although some photogs learn to do quite well with it.

Also, flash sometimes annoys the critters.
I too prefer not to use flash when shooting wildlife unless I really have too. Thank you for all you contribution. I made up my mind and bought the K-3 today.
-Regards
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