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11-04-2015, 08:11 AM   #1
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Low light performance improvement; K-3ii over K-30?

Can I expect a large increase in low-light hand-held performance with the K-3ii over my K-30? I know each generation of camera has improvements but what can I realistically expect? It would seem the K-3ii should be better because it's newer but the pixel density is higher.
You may say the K-3 and K-3ii are the same but I can make use of the GPS and pixel shift when taking tripod mounted architecture photos.

11-04-2015, 08:55 AM   #2
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They are pretty close. Close enough that if you print the same size I doubt you could tell which was which based on noise. K3 sensor has better resolution at lower iso settings, but once you get over 800, I doubt you could see a difference.

Noise is finer on K3 than on a K5 II and so easier to process than the K5.
11-04-2015, 09:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Newtophotos Quote
Can I expect a large increase in low-light hand-held performance with the K-3ii over my K-30?
Do you mean noise or AF? (Low light AF is much better on the K-3/K-3II.) Conventional wisdom is that while per pixel noise is somewhat higher on the K-3/K-3II at higher ISOs than the K-5/K-30/K-50, the detail captured is higher with the 24Mpx sensor. The outcome is essentially equal high ISO noise between the two sensors, but with the actual performance edge going to the K-3/K-3II.


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11-04-2015, 10:55 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Newtophotos Quote
Can I expect a large increase in low-light hand-held performance with the K-3ii over my K-30? I know each generation of camera has improvements but what can I realistically expect? It would seem the K-3ii should be better because it's newer but the pixel density is higher.
You may say the K-3 and K-3ii are the same but I can make use of the GPS and pixel shift when taking tripod mounted architecture photos.
The biggest improvement (apart from AF as Steve mentioned) will be metering and white balance, IMO. You also get more resolution and 14 bit RAW, so at the end of the day yes, the K-3/K-3 II does pull ahead of the K-30 family of cameras. Here are some comparisons here to give you an idea of what to expect:

Pentax K-S1 Review - Image Quality | PentaxForums.com Reviews (scroll down to low-light high ISO).


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11-04-2015, 12:07 PM   #5
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I have a K50 and K3 - and I see improved AF, improved WB, and improved overall metering. I don't see more noise but I also don't see less. I shoot the same ISO's on both cameras and generally don't notice which one shot what after the fact - EXIF needed to know what I used. 16 to 24 MP gives slight resolution edge to the K3 but practical viewing (not peeping) isn't going to see that as a major differentiation unless you do significant cropping.
11-04-2015, 05:33 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
16 to 24 MP gives slight resolution edge to the K3 but practical viewing (not peeping) isn't going to see that as a major differentiation unless you do significant cropping.
I definitely agree. For on screen viewing, it is unlikely that one will see any appreciable difference in detail capture at final resolutions below the 16Mpx dimensions of 4928x3264 for comparable framing (either crop or downsample). There is some advantage to the 14-bit capture depth in the form of tonality and ease of modification in PP, but the most obvious and readily apparent difference is when cropping to the desired composition or when printing big.

The K-3 simply provides more data to work with in both cases. This results in better detail capture and more effective up-sampling for large prints.


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11-04-2015, 06:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Newtophotos Quote
Can I expect a large increase in low-light hand-held performance with the K-3ii over my K-30? I know each generation of camera has improvements but what can I realistically expect? It would seem the K-3ii should be better because it's newer but the pixel density is higher.
You may say the K-3 and K-3ii are the same but I can make use of the GPS and pixel shift when taking tripod mounted architecture photos.

No, you won't see a large increase. The K-3's pixels are smaller:


Pentax K-50 vs Pentax K-3
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