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11-17-2014, 06:23 PM   #1
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K5IIs vs K3 AF

I know there have probably been several threads on this, but I have specific questions.

I am really leaning towards a K3 for Christmas. I currently own and use the traditional K5.

I am not sure if the AF function on the K3 is the same as the K5IIs. Are they the same motor/drive/system? Or do they have differences?

That is one area where I am not all that satisfied with the old K5 but it's been a fantastic camera otherwise. Other than cropability I don't think 24mp will make my shots turn out any better.

Yes 24mp would be nice, but 16mp is fine... I am seeing all these deals.. I am probably going to wait until black friday and see if I can pick up something nice...

I am thinking I should stick with my K3 plan because it skips a generation and does offer more in other areas, but specifically I am asking about the AF functions between these cameras.

11-17-2014, 06:43 PM   #2
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Having used k-5, k-5IIs and k-3 and I can say there is noticeable improvement in the k-3. Particularly in "low light" but also in general. I never really noticed any difference k-5 -> k-5IIs in my shooting.

I have heard that the k-3 screwdrive motor is faster, although I cannot say I really notice that in real world use. SDM speed is supposed to be the same, which makes sense as the motor is in the lens. The difference is in the speed of achieving a lock rather than in the speed of the AF motors. K-5 series (for me) always seemed a little unsure. K-3 is better at getting a sure lock without hunting back and forth.

Biggest disappointment is that SDM is about the same speed, slow. Kinda sad when 25 year old screwdrive tech blows SDM out of the water for AF speed.
11-17-2014, 06:54 PM   #3
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I haven't used the k3, but hopefully my feedback helps some....

After using the k5 and k5iis back to back there is a noticeable improvement in general AF. In low light I find the speed and accuracy much better. (The k5iis turned my 100mm wr into a completely different lens.) Also much more reliable in light the k5 has trouble with (tungsten?). K3 sounds like it pushes this even further, though most often you hear about the tracking AF being improved.

One reason I regret not going for the k3 is the much improved CDAF (live view). I use that alot and seems it improved dramatically in the k3.

Tough call for me if I was in your shoes. K5iis is getting cheaper by the minute and the money saved can go to lenses.
11-17-2014, 06:57 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
I know there have probably been several threads on this, but I have specific questions.

I am really leaning towards a K3 for Christmas. I currently own and use the traditional K5.

I am not sure if the AF function on the K3 is the same as the K5IIs. Are they the same motor/drive/system? Or do they have differences?

That is one area where I am not all that satisfied with the old K5 but it's been a fantastic camera otherwise. Other than cropability I don't think 24mp will make my shots turn out any better.

Yes 24mp would be nice, but 16mp is fine... I am seeing all these deals.. I am probably going to wait until black friday and see if I can pick up something nice...

I am thinking I should stick with my K3 plan because it skips a generation and does offer more in other areas, but specifically I am asking about the AF functions between these cameras.
The biggest difference IMO (not counting live view) is that the K-3 has a more powerful motor, so screwdrive lenses will focus faster. See our K-3 review for more details.


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11-17-2014, 07:25 PM   #5
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The K-3 is noticeably faster than the K-5IIs with screw driven lenses. But what I find more striking is how much quieter it is. I've tested DA, FA, and Tamron lenses and it's faster and quieter with all of them. Pretty incredible.
11-17-2014, 07:37 PM   #6
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The biggest difference between the K-5 family and K-3 is AF-C tracking performance. The expandable focal point and AF lock are powerful features not available on previous Pentax bodies.
11-17-2014, 10:32 PM   #7
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Thanks guys for all of your input. K3 it is.

I have lenses... all the lenses I want. I can say I miraculously was cured (almost) of LBA... The ONLY lens I am tempted to get now is the 77mm. The only reason I don't have that one yet is because I find myself rarely if ever shooting at those focal lengths. Maybe I just haven't gotten there yet. I have given serious consideration to swapping my DA 70 for the 77... just so I can round out the 3 amigos. I have no SDM lenses. All are screw driven.

In an ideal world I will have two K3 bodies... one with my 31 on it and one with my 43 on it. I have my other limited lenses that I could swap on or off it needed.

I just need to get a K3 now...
11-17-2014, 11:42 PM   #8
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K-3 is more 'intelligent' than the K-5II, in part because it has a more integrated and sophisticated metering and AF system. Pic partially related:



And the AF has a heap more options.

Having said all that, K-5II is still a great upgrade to the K-5 in many useful ways.

11-18-2014, 12:40 AM   #9
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I will get the K3. If it's worth doing it's worth some overkill. Or a lot of overkill. Who doesn't like nice stuff?
11-18-2014, 12:47 AM   #10
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It looks like you have already made your decision, but for what it's worth I agree with the above. The K-5 IIs is a significant improvement over the K-5, but the K-3 is a new level again, especially when tracking moving objects.
11-18-2014, 12:59 AM   #11
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I believe the K3 is also the first to use colour based AF. I broke my K5 in easter, got a K3 from my insurance company, broke that this October and got a second hand K5II replacement - long sad story, but the point is I have tried all three!

I am going to get another K3 when I can afford it. In short, it is the only camera I have ever had that was able to focus correctly, and hold the focus, on birds in flight flying past vegetation. I noticed the difference very acutely because I broke + replaced my K3 in Florida while shooting a lot of birds. The downgrade was noticable. After I came home, I had a photoshoot for a hunting article, and I returned with a whole series of teals flying past autumn coloured trees - could have been pretty, but not a single one nailed the focus.

I am not saying the gear was to blame - I am sure the photographer was. But in my case at least, the K3 was a leap forward in terms of AF. I miss it...
11-18-2014, 01:28 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Notes to self:
Very helpful thread comparing K3 and K5IIs.
Important: Avoid opening thread again.
11-18-2014, 01:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
It looks like you have already made your decision, but for what it's worth I agree with the above. The K-5 IIs is a significant improvement over the K-5, but the K-3 is a new level again, especially when tracking moving objects.
This is correct. The K-5 IIs has made a noticeable improvement in AF speed (over my K-5) for action shooting, so that I haven't felt the need to upgrade again (plus I'm doing mostly video this year).

But I used the K-3 once, and it's even better. If I were still taking action photos every week I might have upgraded to it already.
11-18-2014, 01:54 AM   #14
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I often seek out dim foggy scenes, and there's been several times where the K5 has missed the focus - sad to say. In similar situations, the K3 penetrates the fog/low light and nails the focus. No doubt in my mind. Never had the K5II. That one feature alone, low light AF, was all the justification i needed to buy the camera. K3 reputedly AFs down to -3ev. The Sony A7s, and i believe the NX1 is spec'd to AF down to -4ev. So the K3 is in very lofty company. Many other cameras are too proud to say what their low light AF capability is, i suspect that is not good news :-(
11-18-2014, 02:30 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by drypenn Quote
Notes to self:
Very helpful thread comparing K3 and K5IIs.
Important: Avoid opening thread again.
Haha, very true! Good thing I'm not an action shooter, otherwise I would be very tempted. But in reality, there's very little I'd change about my K-5II...focus peaking, articulated screen (maybe, though it would ruin the look ), um yeah that's about it!
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