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05-18-2016, 05:49 PM   #1
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Curious about what makes a camera suitable for a "more advanced user".

Let me preface my post by saying that I currently use a K30 and K50 and am really happy with them. They are my first DSLR's so I had a lot to learn about using a sophisticated camera having moved across from the LX. But at some point they might need replacing if something goes wrong, so I would probably look at something like the K3 or K3ii.

I often see statements along the lines of "the K3 is for a more advanced user" but I'm wondering just what people mean by "a more advanced user". I know that a K3 has extra features and functions compared to an "entry level" DSLR such as the K50 that would need to be learned, but apart from that does a more advanced camera have special capabilities that need mastering as well. I'm genuinely curious about what sorts of things I might need to get to grips with if I bought something from the next level up. Thanks

05-18-2016, 05:54 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
I know that a K3 has extra features and functions compared to an "entry level" DSLR such as the K50 that would need to be learned,
That is mostly it. And on the 'advanced' cameras there are no scene modes. So you cannot just stick the camera on 'landscape' and fire away. So features designed for first time users are missing and features that more advanced photographers want are added. There are also usually more buttons and the build quality is better. On Pentax this is less true as they have dual control wheels on all cameras now I think. Good images can be taken with either, and bad ones as well.
05-18-2016, 05:55 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
...but apart from that does a more advanced camera have special capabilities that need mastering as well.
More adjustable functions that won't make general photos any better but may allow you to shoot some specialized shots. You will need to understand the capabilities and effects of adjustments to them, same as anything.
05-18-2016, 06:02 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
There are also usually more buttons and the build quality is better. On Pentax this is less true as they have dual control wheels on all cameras now I think.
Right, Canon and Nikon don't put dual wheels on their lower models.

Other things: the flagship models have top LCD, which is useful for checking settings. There's an X mode for fixed flash sync speed on the flagships. The viewfinder tends to be slightly larger because the camera itself is bigger. There's more metal than in the lower models.

The shutter speed goes a bit higher on the flagship models, which is useful if you want to shoot at f/2 in bright sun. There's microphone ports on the flagships, a flash sync port, some other small differences. They're just designed with the user making more manual adjustments than the lower models, which are assumed to get more use in auto mode.

05-18-2016, 06:19 PM   #5
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I have a K-3II. The main features I use on it are the ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture, which is where I usually make most of my decisions. The AF is the most advanced of the Pentax aps-c cameras and has done an excellent job for me (stills and tracking). It also produces excellent detail and color in images. The Astrotracer and built in GPS I would consider advantageous. The Pixel-Shift technology is a special feature. Utilizing the User modes to be able to switch quickly between settings is a useful feature. The K-3II has an LCD on the top right of the camera for quick reading of setting figures/adjustment. The K-3II is the most advanced Pentax aps-c type camera, and shows it in performance. If you upgraded to it, you would have more quality and features to work with, but utilizing it is just a matter of using basic settings as you would on other cameras you have used, which is the important thing. Trial/Error, confiding in the manual, and utilizing features as needed will teach you.

Like I said, I have a K-3II. It will give you superior performance and results.
05-18-2016, 06:24 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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I think it's mainly marketing, myself.

When was the last time you saw an ad for a camera that proudly stated it was "for the less advanced user"?

Many of the features that distinguish DSLRs are usually based on their build, features and price.

An advanced user can work with an entry-level system, under many circumstances. Certain lenses and flash accessories are more relevant to advanced users, in practice.
05-18-2016, 06:33 PM   #7
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Really, the difference is somewhat minimal-ish. For the most part, if you have a camera that gives you easy control over the ISO, shutter, and aperture, then you've got a pretty advanced camera already.

The biggest difference is that the k-5/k-3/k-1 bodies are a bit more stealthy. The shutter is much quieter, a bit faster, and is rated for two or three times the lifespan of the k-50. The build quality is much higher, so you feel it can take a lot more abuse. The image output is 14bit raw, which does make colour accuracy a little bit better in ropey lighting conditions (some will disagree with that statement). The k-3/k-1 lack the AA filter, and have a bit more resolution to play with. They also have improved AF systems (which will filter down to the K-30/K-S2 bodies eventually). Obviously the K-1 is FF, so the high ISO performance is better, and the viewfinder is bigger.

There are some minor bells and whistles added to the K-3/K-1 that the K-50 doesn't have, but honestly, unlike other makes (I'm looking at you canikon!), the cheaper Pentax bodies are pretty heavily loaded with features as it is, so you aren't missing out on too much.

If you were to take away my K-1, I'd stab you!
If you were to swap my K-3 for a K-S2 (or K-5 for a K-50), then I'd miss the build quality, but the resulting image quality wouldn't be all that different....
05-18-2016, 06:37 PM   #8
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Simply put, advanced cameras have more features and are built to higher standards. And the enhancements are often things that beginners don't need or perhaps might not even notice.

For example, the K-3 has a magnesium body, versus the K-50's plastic exterior. The K-3's shutter is much quieter and rated for many more actuations. You also get a more sensitive AF system, external mic suppprt, and 14-bit color depth, just to name a few things.

Both cameras support the same basic shooting modes, which is the defining feature of DSLRs. However, the K-3 offers additional drive modes for those who need more than just the basics


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05-18-2016, 07:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnhilvert Quote
I think it's mainly marketing, myself.

When was the last time you saw an ad for a camera that proudly stated it was "for the less advanced user"?

Many of the features that distinguish DSLRs are usually based on their build, features and price.

An advanced user can work with an entry-level system, under many circumstances. Certain lenses and flash accessories are more relevant to advanced users, in practice.

Agreed. Pro photog Jay Maisel is known to shoot with Nikon consumer zooms.
05-18-2016, 10:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
I often see statements along the lines of "the K3 is for a more advanced user" but I'm wondering just what people mean by "a more advanced user". I know that a K3 has extra features and functions compared to an "entry level" DSLR such as the K50 that would need to be learned, but apart from that does a more advanced camera have special capabilities that need mastering as well.
IMHO difference between k30/k50 vs K3 is not so much "more features that need to be learned" but more like "better build and improved performance". So an advanced user would appreciate the improvements and can take full advantage of them, while a novice would most likely not be able to tell the difference and will just be wasting his money with the higher end models.
05-18-2016, 11:47 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
I'm genuinely curious about what sorts of things I might need to get to grips with if I bought something from the next level up. Thanks

I moved from the K20D to the K-3 and found that the extra resolution ( 14.6 mps to 24.3 mps ) highlighted flaws in my technique. With lots of practice, my keeper rate of photographs has improved greatly. As the other members have stated, the build, functions and resolution are geared towards a different type of photographer with higher end camera bodies. As an extreme example, putting a novice driver behind the wheel of a Ferrari will not show the car for what it truly is. But this forum is full of " Ferrari " drivers only too happy to show us how to drive better. I can highly recommend the K-3 to you carlb should you choose to get it. Good luck.
05-19-2016, 05:00 AM   #12
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For me, moving from a k100d to a k5iis the hardest part was new locations for some buttons and fingers that resisted the change after many years of familiarity. It should be no problem 'jumping up' a step - you just figure out the location of the stuff you're used to and it's business as usual. Then work on learning what's new and if it can help you or not.

Some improvements are convenience (in my case- dual control wheels, a backlit top lcd, nicer viewfinder, more bracketing options, etc), some may directly help with image quality (a 2-button press mirror lock up instead of slaved to the 2-sec timer) and many will be incremental that "just happen" but you can learn over time to make the most out of (14-bit vs 12-bit, less noise, more resolution, though the latter two are more an improvement from a generational jump than going from 'amateur' to 'advanced').
05-19-2016, 05:44 AM   #13
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I just got a new K-S2 here. . . It's interesting to compare the K-S2 and the K-3, and see that each one offers several features that the other does not have. If you want a swivel screen or built-in Wi-Fi (both of which I've found useful), then the K-S2 is it.
05-19-2016, 09:28 AM   #14
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In my experience, it's about the speed of operation in the field. Not just more powerful AF drive, higher burst rate and bigger buffer but many more dedicated function buttons, such as those for ISO and exposure compensation placed right by the shutter release on high-end Pentax models. Having got used to using a K-7 (which has essentially the same control layout as the K-5 and K-3) I now find it frustrating using other cameras which lack these features.

That said, there are those for whom dedicated button-linked wi-fi and video functionality will be much more useful. It all depends what you do.
05-19-2016, 12:03 PM   #15
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I have a K-5 and a K10D. When they were new, they were advertised as for the more advanced photographer. I also have a Km, which was the basic, entry Pentax body in it's time.

As others have said, it's the more advanced features. I also like the fact that the more advanced bodies have more external settings/controls for me to use, to set up the camera quicker.

I recently bought a new Sekonic L-398 light meter. When I use the light meter, I set my camera to manual. With the K-5 and K10D I find I can quickly set the shutter speed and the aperture, with their two wheels. With my Km, I have one wheel and as a result it's full manual control, is only more of a partial manual control. I can change either aperture or shutter speed manual, but not both.

I'm probably missing something, but it seems to me that Pentax probably assumed that the great majority of Km users, wouldn't use this feature.
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