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01-18-2015, 08:01 PM   #1
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Mirror less vs Pentax K 3

Hi, I am looking for my first digital camera. I really am attracted to the K 3, however I like the idea of the mirror less size, what is the difference in quality? I really don't have a mirror less in mind. Thx

01-18-2015, 10:01 PM   #2
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It's a question of personal preferences. For me a mirrorless camera has some disadvantages and will always have.
An optical viewfinder to compose a picture without draining the accu for example. Good for taking landscapes and other occasions where composition means a lot. You can use AA standard accus with battery grip. Stabilizer for all lenses. Weather protection and some more...
Put this in relation to the somewhat smaller size of an EVIL, it's slightly lower actuation noise and a bit less delicate mechanics and You will make the right decision, I'm sure ...

I have to admit, that the thought of a mirrorless FF as second camera for the moments, where pictures would benefit noticeably from the greater sensor area appeals to me. This would be the one place, where I could change my mind because ot the lower costs for such a model. Old lenses useable for FF I have some, so this would be no problem.

Last edited by forest_bear59; 01-19-2015 at 01:53 AM. Reason: Add one further thought.
01-18-2015, 11:09 PM   #3
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First, what are you interested in photographing. Second, which mirrorless system are you considering?

In general mirrorless gives you a compact system with options for using many older lenses via adapters, a set of native lenses, and DSLR like control over the system and exposure. At the same time lacking an optical viewfinder can be a drag in bright sunlight, although there are special devices designed to allow the use of the lcd as a viewfinder...

DSLR systems are larger, use larger sensors which increases options to isolate the subject from the background, improves high ISO performance, and gives a crop factor that isn't so high as to make it hard to get a wide angle view.

Dslr's typically offer a wider range of native autofocus lenses than mirrorless tend to offer.
01-19-2015, 12:50 AM   #4
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I'm considering switching to mirrorless myself.

If you are looking for excellent picture quality in small body I suggest Sony a7 ... it's quite cheap (a little more than K-3 for the body, in EU that is), but it's FULL FRAME and has a lot of features.
Downsides to this particular camera system are very weak battery (200-300 pictures - you will either need a battery grip or few extra batteries to get to the level of dslr), weaker autofocus in low light (sensitivity only 0 ev) and limited native selection of lenses. As already mentioned, purchasing adapters and using old lenses with manual focus is a way to go on mirrorless.


Last edited by hosma; 01-19-2015 at 02:18 AM.
01-19-2015, 04:59 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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The biggest problems with mirrorless currently are battery life and lack of native lenses (assuming you are talking about FE mount). Four thirds is a pretty well developed system at this point and certainly is smaller than a K3 with lenses, but you won't have as much leeway in editing your files.

The thing to remember is that even though the camera body may be smaller, the lenses will probably be equivalent size (assuming the same equivalent aperture, focal length and sensor size). This can make for poor ergonomics with a very small body combined with a reasonably fast zoom.

The most important thing is to get what seems to fit with you and your style of shooting.
01-19-2015, 07:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The biggest problems with mirrorless currently are battery life and lack of native lenses (assuming you are talking about FE mount). Four thirds is a pretty well developed system at this point and certainly is smaller than a K3 with lenses, but you won't have as much leeway in editing your files.
This is precisely why I entered the Fuji X system - decent compromise between FF and m4/3, especially when size is factored in. It can be incredibly tiny, and it has a great (for me) lens lineup.

I also can't stand the Sony UI & handling. Fuji is head and shoulders better IMO.


QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The thing to remember is that even though the camera body may be smaller, the lenses will probably be equivalent size (assuming the same equivalent aperture, focal length and sensor size). This can make for poor ergonomics with a very small body combined with a reasonably fast zoom.
Since Fuji X lenses are designed for APS-C, they are smaller than FF lenses when looking at lens + camera size. My Fuji X-A1 + 35/1.4 weighs a pound, much less than a FF camera with a 50/2. [Except maybe for the upcoming super-light Pentax FF with a 50/1.8 ha ha ha!]
01-19-2015, 08:06 AM   #7
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Pentax has the K-01 which is mirrorless and looks like a brick. It has the same sensor as the K-5 series and I believe either eliminates or has a very weak anti-aliasing filter.
The IQ is excellent and it will take any Pentax K mount lens. The AF is a tad slow especiallly with longer lenses. I wouldn't recommend it for sports or actions shooting although some people have gotten some good results with it.
One of the drawbacks of all mirrorless is lag in the viewing screen as opposed to a DSLR or SLR...again, it depends on what kind of shooting you will be doing with it.
01-19-2015, 08:15 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
This is precisely why I entered the Fuji X system - decent compromise between FF and m4/3, especially when size is factored in. It can be incredibly tiny, and it has a great (for me) lens lineup.

I also can't stand the Sony UI & handling. Fuji is head and shoulders better IMO.




Since Fuji X lenses are designed for APS-C, they are smaller than FF lenses when looking at lens + camera size. My Fuji X-A1 + 35/1.4 weighs a pound, much less than a FF camera with a 50/2. [Except maybe for the upcoming super-light Pentax FF with a 50/1.8 ha ha ha!]
I think if you are mainly a prime shooter, mirrorless is probably a more viable option. Primes, even pretty fast primes aren't very unwieldy. If you use zooms a lot or, telephotos, then I don't see the benefit so much.

Assuming Pentax could come up with a K3 sized full frame, sticking lenses like the DA 40 limited or FA 31 limited could be a combo that is pretty small with excellent image quality.

But we don't know for sure that they are going to do this (I think they will later this year).

01-19-2015, 08:37 AM - 1 Like   #9
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When comparing a mirrorless and a mirror-camera using the same sensor (for instance the K3 versus the A6000) there is no quality difference image wise. The mirrorless camera will be a bit smaller, but with lens mounted the differences are not that big. (the K3 is rather compact for a DSLR).

The main difference is in usage. DSLR's are (at the moment anyway) faster to operate in terms of autofocus, shutter lag and startup time (not in liveviewmode!). Native lens choice is generally better. Flash systems also appear to be more mature as the DSLR systems have been around for a long time.

Current mirrorless cameras offer more functionality if you do not need to be as quick. The best EVF's are much brighter and clearer then crop-sensor OVF's. The ability to see 'live' info in the viewfinder, like the histogram, gridlines, level, is very useful. I particularly like the 'what you see is what you get' view on exposure and white balance (not completely accurate off course, but learnable and much better then nothing). And the ability to zoom into the viewer to get spot on manual focus is important for those that like to shoot with fast lenses. One cannot do that with the current OVF's. You'd be amazed to see what your 50mm 1:1.2 can do wide open! Obviously DSLR's have back screen live view, but that can be hard to view in sunlight (and implementation is often an afterthought. K5's LV is clunky, K3's is probably a lot better though).

So if you need speed, a DSLR is (still) the way to go. For full control at the expense of some speed, mirrorless is better. Extreme examples - a sport photographer cannot use a current mirrorless, a landscape photographer using a tripod is best served with a mirrorless.

Btw the battery issue is somewhat overrated. I always carry a spare battery for my cameras, both the K5 and the A7. The A7's I have to replace more often, that's all. One has to go really really all out to deplete two batteries. If you're that type of shooter, carry three. It cannot be a decisive reason to select one system over the other.
01-19-2015, 09:07 AM   #10
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I have a K5, a quite highly rated camera, but I have had the opportunity to use a Sony A7 and the image quality in low light was just much better. The EVF is great, except in really low light, but there the K5 viewfinder is not all that useful either. The articulating screen very useful, if you have an oldish back and it is a small camera

The disadvantages is the poor battery life and lens selection for AF, but the focus peaking worked well and was much better than using live view on the K5, so I can see myself using manual focusing with my DA*300. Also it is not weather sealed and no in camera SR. If you can live these limitations it would be useful.

The K3 is great, but I think the future is mirrorless FF for my level and interest and if my K5 would go on strike, I will probably and up with a Sony A7 or hopefully the Pentax equivalent that will be available then. One must not stop hoping.
01-19-2015, 09:40 AM   #11
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Personally, I started to slowly move towards mirror-less cameras. As a matter of fact, if I don't take in the account all my film cameras, I currently have no SLR that I own nor do I plan to purchase one anytime soon.

I will be the first one to defend the OVF, but the new EVFs I have to admit that are quite good and from the models I have tried so far, lag only starts to appear in very low light conditions. So yes, I have to admit as well that I believe the future will be mirror-less cameras. Not tomorrow, or the day after, but in 10 years or so...

But today, there are very good options on both sides, at very good prices.
And today, is nothing but a matter of preference... and what you need the camera for.
01-19-2015, 11:26 AM   #12
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For me, mirrorless is useless without an EVF. Any camera with only back LCD composition is not for me. Works fine on my iPhone indoors, but outside????? Not to mention the shakes holding the thing out at arms length.
01-19-2015, 11:52 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
For me, mirrorless is useless without an EVF. Any camera with only back LCD composition is not for me. Works fine on my iPhone indoors, but outside????? Not to mention the shakes holding the thing out at arms length.
What about the add-on viewer adapters that let you cover the lcd and use with an eye piece.
01-19-2015, 11:55 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
What about the add-on viewer adapters that let you cover the lcd and use with an eye piece.
I don't have enough hands for that. Give me a viewfinder. Your personal preferences may be different. When my wife of 49+ years wanted a lighter travel camera, she ended up with a Pentax X-5. She wouldn't even look at the even lighter cameras without viewfinders.
01-19-2015, 12:10 PM   #15
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Quality & versatility

QuoteOriginally posted by Detura Quote
Hi, I am looking for my first digital camera. I really am attracted to the K 3, however I like the idea of the mirror less size, what is the difference in quality? I really don't have a mirror less in mind. Thx
With the introduction of more Zeiss lenses to Sony mirrorless and the updated "normalized" flash shoe system, they can pretty much match what Pentax can offer in terms of IQ & versatility. I use mirrorless for publication work regularly. My DX & FX dSLRs are mainly for ultra wide (14mm), macro (1:1) and 300mm+ lenses which none of the mirrorless has provide a decent solution yet.
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