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02-23-2018, 12:30 PM   #1
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K3 vs K3 ii for wildlife

I am a long time lurker but have never actually owned a Pentax digital camera. I shoot with Sony a7 and am happy with it for my general photography needs.

The one area itís lacking is for wildlife photography. Iím wanting something to use on a kayak and the weather sealing of the Pentax system has always impressed me. I think Iím going to go with the DA 300 and one of the K3 cameras for the best price to performance ratio.

Is the AF actually better on the k3ii? I know itís advertised as improved, but I wondered if it actually is. Iím concerned mostly with tracking.

02-23-2018, 12:36 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by str8talk83 Quote
I am a long time lurker but have never actually owned a Pentax digital camera. I shoot with Sony a7 and am happy with it for my general photography needs.

The one area itís lacking is for wildlife photography. Iím wanting something to use on a kayak and the weather sealing of the Pentax system has always impressed me. I think Iím going to go with the DA 300 and one of the K3 cameras for the best price to performance ratio.

Is the AF actually better on the k3ii? I know itís advertised as improved, but I wondered if it actually is. Iím concerned mostly with tracking.
It is better, specifically when the distance between you and your subject changes rapidly. The core hardware and speed remains unchanged, but if you find yourself shooting nearby wildlife, then the K-3 II's enhancements (also found in the KP and later models) will improve your keeper rate.

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02-23-2018, 12:46 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
It is better, specifically when the distance between you and your subject changes rapidly. The core hardware and speed remains unchanged, but if you find yourself shooting nearby wildlife, then the K-3 II's enhancements (also found in the KP and later models) will improve your keeper rate.
Thanks for the insight.
02-23-2018, 12:55 PM   #4
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I believe that I have seen some posts from members who canoe or kayak

perhaps you could do a search and find them

they might have an opinion

02-23-2018, 12:56 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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I shoot wildlife with the K-3 and the DA*300mm, usually with the HD 1.4x teleconverter (also weather resistant). The TC is a significant additional cost, but it works well with the DA*300mm and the extra reach really helps as long as you have a reasonable amount of light. Put it on your "wish list" at least!
02-23-2018, 01:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
I believe that I have seen some posts from members who canoe or kayak

perhaps you could do a search and find them

they might have an opinion
I'll try to find that thread, thanks.
02-23-2018, 02:17 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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I hope no-one minds me saying this.... Pentax has many amazing attributes and I love my camera. But you mention AF tracking is a priority for you. That isn't Pentax's strong suit. If you don't already have a lot of Pentax lenses - it might be better to look at a NIkon body.

They may lack some of the high end image quality features of Pentax - but they can be found with weather sealing and the consensus seems to be they have the best AF for wildlife.

That said I've happily taken pictures of stationary birds from my canoe using the K-S2. I wouldn't fancy my chances with them in flight though.
02-23-2018, 02:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ks2user Quote
I hope no-one minds me saying this.... Pentax has many amazing attributes and I love my camera. But you mention AF tracking is a priority for you. That isn't Pentax's strong suit. If you don't already have a lot of Pentax lenses - it might be better to look at a NIkon body.

They may lack some of the high end image quality features of Pentax - but they can be found with weather sealing and the consensus seems to be they have the best AF for wildlife.

That said I've happily taken pictures of stationary birds from my canoe using the K-S2. I wouldn't fancy my chances with them in flight though.
Thanks for your honesty. AF has been the only hangup I've ever really had with Pentax. I was hoping it has improved. When I first got into photography, I ended up going with Canon for that reason. I had to sell all my stuff after a bad financial time and when I came back I had the full frame itch and went Sony.

02-23-2018, 03:05 PM   #9
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One advantage of the K-3II over the K-3 is the built in GPS. For my purposes GPS is essential to be able to locate the site of a photograph. YMMV of course.

As to AF, there was a significant improvement in the K-3 models over the K-5 models. Will it stand up to a modern Nikon in the tracking area? Probably not. Will it work well enough to get good photographs? Yes, though you may have to practice a bit and also set up the options properly for tracking which sadly are not documented well.
02-23-2018, 03:31 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ks2user Quote
I hope no-one minds me saying this.... Pentax has many amazing attributes and I love my camera. But you mention AF tracking is a priority for you. That isn't Pentax's strong suit. If you don't already have a lot of Pentax lenses - it might be better to look at a NIkon body.

They may lack some of the high end image quality features of Pentax - but they can be found with weather sealing and the consensus seems to be they have the best AF for wildlife.

That said I've happily taken pictures of stationary birds from my canoe using the K-S2. I wouldn't fancy my chances with them in flight though.
For BIF and other such things, I have found the K3 quite suitable, thank you.
Of course, the AF may not be Pentax strong point but it is also a matter of user's technique.
For further references, you may want to have a peek at some pictures taken with several "grades" of Pentax K's (you're welcome to peek at my Flickr hereby included in my signature) ... as far as I am concerned,
Perhaps it would be a good idea not to make unfounded "observations" with regards to the K3.
02-23-2018, 03:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
For BIF and other such things, I have found the K3 quite suitable, thank you.
Of course, the AF may not be Pentax strong point but it is also a matter of user's technique.
For further references, you may want to have a peek at some pictures taken with several "grades" of Pentax K's (you're welcome to peek at my Flickr hereby included in my signature) ... as far as I am concerned,
Perhaps it would be a good idea not to make unfounded "observations" with regards to the K3.
I agree that it's best not jumping to conclusions. I'm actually considering renting the combo and seeing what I think. It would be my first rental, but it might be worth it in this case. If I can make the Pentax system work for me, it provides the best budget friendly option with the weather sealing I'm looking for.
02-23-2018, 04:17 PM   #12
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The K-3 has been my wildlife lens for the past 3 years. But, I have no experience with the K-3II os can't help you out there.

I do a lot of canoeing, I work as guide in the summer. My travel kit for boating is usually the DA 18-135 and DA*60-250 with HD DA 1.4 TC in a Pelican case that I can slide under my seat.

Last edited by normhead; 02-23-2018 at 05:54 PM.
02-23-2018, 04:38 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The K-3 has been my wildlife lens for the past 3 years. But, I have no experience with the K-3II os can't help you out there.

I do a lot of canoeing, I work as guide in the summer. My travel kit for boating is usually the DA 18-145 and DA*60-250 with HD DA 1.4 TC in a Pelican case that I can slide under my seat.
That sounds like it would be a good combo. I use a Native Ultimate which is similar to a canoe and I also have done a lot of canoeing with a camera. I used to work with youth in a residential treatment facility and we would go on 3 day canoe trips on the river (I was in Missouri then.) I would take photos of the kids and their families loved it. A lot of good times.
02-23-2018, 04:48 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
One advantage of the K-3II over the K-3 is the built in GPS. For my purposes GPS is essential to be able to locate the site of a photograph. YMMV of course . . .
with the K 3 II, you lose the built in flash completely

with the K 3 and the add on accessory, o-gps1, you only lose the flash when you use the add on GPS unit

Pentax O-GPS1 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

Pentax O-GPS1 GPS Unit Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

otherwise you have a built in flash
02-23-2018, 04:49 PM   #15
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Renting is a good idea. I presume you know the K-3 has been discontinued for a while, being replaced by the K-3 II, which has a built-in GPS instead of a flash. Now it too has been recently discontinued, so remaining stock is offered at a low price as an outgoing model.

There is a fairly substantiated rumor of a new replacement model in the works, and we expect an announcement sometime this year.

As to AF, an advanced tracking system has been more linked to fast-action sports as a matter of concern, where a subject of interest might move off to the side of the frame by the time the shutter fires. I don't think this would be an ideal shot for a BIF, which requires the skill of the photographer to follow the action well, in order to get good framing. I have seen numerous examples posted on these forums of excellent BIF shots taken with Pentax DSLR cameras, using various lenses. The lens is also a major factor as to AF speed and efficiency.
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