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09-13-2021, 09:56 AM   #1
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K-70 upgrade - K-1 Mark II or K-3 mark III?

Hi everyone,

My 3 yo k70 just got put to death by saltwater (unfortunately the weatherproofing really isn't good enough for conditions below deck in a sailboat, but gloriously my SD card hasn't quite given up the ghost yet).

I have half a dozen lenses (including the kit 55mm from my mother's k1000) from my time with it, and would love to purchase another pentax. I'm just a hobbyist but would like the capability to shoot more pet, birding, and night shots - the areas where my k70's limitations were the most severe. I had evident noise well below 6400 iso, and difficulty with missed focus on moving subjects. Nothing else about the camera was any less than perfect in my opinion.

I've been drooling over the k1 mkII and would love to give it a shot at becoming my new favorite.

Is there anything about the upgrade to full frame beyond minor issues like wider FOV and potential vignetting/etc I should be concerned with when I use my aps-c lenses with it? Is the sensor and focus system upgrade going to blow my mind in a good way (is it worth it)?

Specifically, I have

pentax DA 55-300mm f4.5-6.3
aforementioned asahi pentax 55mm f2
rokinon 10mm aspherical
(18-135 from k70 is trashed)
DA 35mm f 2.8
DA 100mm macro f2.8

I want to buy a 400+ telephoto for birding but it's not a priority due to cost

Many thanks

09-13-2021, 10:19 AM   #2
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If you have the budget for it, go for it. Add the DFA 28-105mm to replace the damaged 18-135 and you are good to go. Maybe one of the many affordable AF 50s for convenience... The DA 55-300 almost has FF coverage - there is spot in the middle of the range where the corners vignette really bad but otherwise ok. The 100mm macro is fine and of course the 55mm f2 will be fine. The Rokinon 10mm can be used in APSC mode or trade it for a 14mm. I think the DA 35mm macro can work without the hood or something like that... will have to look it up. I love my K1 and while I still shoot my K3, I pretty much always prefer my K1 for handling. It is heavier and bigger though, and if you do go 400mm+ for birds or critters, then you might miss the resolution of 24mp apsc, but I still prefer the K1 for everything else.

---------- Post added 09-13-21 at 11:34 AM ----------

Update: I missed part of your question though - will the K1 blow your mind? Is it worth it? For me it was worth it. The raw image files are nicer to work with and having 36mp is really nice. As much as I like it, it is often difficult to impossible to tell apart the end result photos from my K1 and K3 below iso 1600. For me it is down to my really preferring the handling of the K1 and preferring the classic 35mm field of view from my lenses. APSC cameras produce stunning results just like full frame. Is the difference mind blowing - no, but it is noticeable in certain shooting scenarios. Photographer vision and skill makes more difference.

Last edited by vector; 09-14-2021 at 08:35 AM.
09-13-2021, 10:34 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by vector Quote
If you have the budget for it, go for it. Add the DFA 28-105mm to replace the damaged 18-135 and you are good to go. Maybe one of the many affordable AF 50s for convenience... The DA 55-300 almost has FF coverage - there is spot in the middle of the range where the corners vignette really bad but otherwise ok. The 100mm macro is fine and of course the 55mm f2 will be fine. The Rokinon 10mm can be used in APSC mode or trade it for a 14mm. I think the DA 35mm macro can work without the hood or something like that... will have to look it up. I love my K1 and while I still shoot my K3, I pretty much always prefer my K1 for handling. It is heavier and bigger though, and if you do go 400mm+ for birds or critters, then you might miss the resolution of 24mm apsc, but I still prefer the K1 for everything else.

Thanks much! I'm very excited for the k1 mkII... I'm curious to test its performance on autofocus speed/accuracy and high iso noise.

It sounds like my best lenses are perfectly fine (asahi 55mm by far my favorite) and the kit zoom lens will be my new default go-lens for adventures. the 55-300 I paid a decent amount for and it's quite high quality, and I usually use it towards the telephoto end of the range anyway, seeing as I have a 55 and 100 prime already.

I do like apsc for telephoto zoom range. I was going to buy a 400mm for the k70 and be set! But I don't have a ton of patience so most of my wildlife photos are chanced upon and quickly shot.

I'm not attached to the rokinon 10mm, although it did produce beautiful postcard-like beach and street photos, it has a hood that can't be removed and therefore was inconvenient to travel with and couldn't accept filters (I hoped to purchase a light pollution filter for astro). So that's fine if it doesn't work.

the 35mm AF I have gives great results for the $99 I paid (for real) but has its drawbacks (pink fringe in high brightness areas, noisy and slow autofocus that doesn't work at all in lowlight).

I hike with my cameras and my sony alpha friends all make fun of me for my DSLR, but I feel like once you put a zoom lens on any camera it's a rock...and I've seen many pro astro photographers using canon 90Ds, which is an apsc DSLR. DSLR gang forever!

---------- Post added 09-13-21 at 10:44 AM ----------

jesus christ I totally meant the k3 mkIII. I KNEW it was APS-C!

I may still have issues with astrophotography without full-frame sensor, but the high ISO performance should be a treat and my lenses will be no issue!
09-13-2021, 11:33 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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new camera decisions

You seem to be happy with the APS-C format so you could be saving for either the K3 III or the K1 II as their pricing is basically the same. Either will be a huge step up from the K 70. Weight might be an issue. The K1 II is noticeably heavier and larger but it is a phenomenal camera. Is this a consideration? It is 36 vs. 24 so it has more and larger pixels so your detail will be better with the K1. As I read it, you already have two lenses that are FF, the 55 and the 100. You would want to add a good variable lens and I would suggest either the 16-50 in APS-C or the 24-70 in full frame. Consider a used 16-50 now that the PLM is available? The 24-70 also works extremely well on the K3 and would give you a short tele in this configuration. For serious birding, bide your time and save up and get the 150-450 FF lens. You will be amazed. Lastly, I would recommend that you stay with Pentax. It is vastly under appreciated and I keep hearing very positive comments from people in the business about Pentax, even though they are usually Nikon or Canon users.

09-13-2021, 01:16 PM - 1 Like   #5
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It isn't just mega 36 vs 24 mega pixel difference. Those 36 mp are on a larger sized sensor and that does make a difference... When I first decided to finally step into the realm of full frame after being fully vested with 2 Pentax Aps-c cameras and lenses it was a tough decision. What made the decision was I had a few Pentax manual & Pentax F lenses along with a couple Tamron & Sigma Full Frame lens, plus I wanted to go back to an articulating screen like I had with my old Olympus system. I must say I liked my old full frame lenses on my Aps-c's but they shine on My K1 Mk ll. Since my purchase I've added a Pentax 28-105 & Pentax DFa 70-210 2.8. I have been extremely happy with my purchase and I don't mind the added size & weight, which to me isn't that much.
09-13-2021, 02:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emirena Quote
I'm just a hobbyist but would like the capability to shoot more pet, birding, and night shots - the areas where my k70's limitations were the most severe. I had evident noise well below 6400 iso, and difficulty with missed focus on moving subjects. Nothing else about the camera was any less than perfect in my opinion.
QuoteOriginally posted by Emirena Quote
I'm very excited for the k1 mkII... I'm curious to test its performance on autofocus speed/accuracy and high iso noise.
QuoteOriginally posted by Emirena Quote
jesus christ I totally meant the k3 mkIII. I KNEW it was APS-C!
I'm confused. Are you asking about the K-1ii (full frame sensor) or the K-3iii (APS-C sensor, like the K-70)?

If your only concerns about the K-70 were its low light performance and AF for moving targets, those are the very issues that are addressed with the K-3iii. If you get a K-3iii, the only lens you need right away is a replacement for the DA 18-135. The obvious answer to that is the DA 16-85 or the new DA*16-50 f2.8, although you might also consider a combination of the DA 15 Limited and DA 20-40 Limited. If that's out of budget, get another 18-135 or Sigma 17-70 C.

As for the full frame option, you are not too heavily invested in APS-C and you have some nice FF lenses, so the switch need not be too expensive. You could sell off the lenses that would not perform well on FF (see this article for advice on FF compatibility: https://www.pentaxforums.com/articles/gear-guides/full-frame-coverage-of-da-lenses.html), like the DA 35 f2.8. (Are you talking about the DA 35mm f2.8 Limited macro, not the DA 35mm f2.4?) But if you are otherwise happy with APS-C, and have an interest in telephoto, what will you really gain from the switch? To put it another way, how is APS-C holding you back?

A cheaper option than either of these would be to get a KP (new if you can find one, otherwise second hand). I find its low light performance to be very good (shooting RAW and using decent software). Better tracking would be nice, but TBH developing your skills is a more effective way to get better results.
QuoteOriginally posted by Emirena Quote
I want to buy a 400+ telephoto for birding but it's not a priority due to cost
For a longer AF wildlife lens, see the many other threads discussing the alternatives. Short answer: best option is either a 300mm prime (DA*300 f4 or F/FA*300 f4.5) and DA 1.4x TC, or DFA 150-450. A cheaper option would be a Sigma 150-500, 50-500 or 400 f5.6 tele macro. See the long lens thread (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/55946-300mm-plus-lens-clu...ng-lenses.html) for discussion and samples of the contenders.

Last edited by Des; 09-13-2021 at 05:07 PM.
09-13-2021, 09:51 PM   #7
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Re: all. I don't think I am being held back by aps-c. I'm a huge fan of the k70's user interface, features, and lens quality for prices. I'm very glad I chose to go with Pentax for my first interchangeable lens camera instead of Sony (though their budget point and shoots are great) or an Olympus fixed lens waterproof/underwater tough model that shoots RAW. I will probably get one of the latter for fun sometime, however. Cheaper than a $1000 custom housing!!

My Sony alpha friend said the larger sensor gives a low light advantage but I feel like that's hokum. 24MP is good enough for an 8x10+ print, I don't even have a very large resolution computer monitor (1920x1200 where I do my edits)

Re: I have the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL. Cheap but does what it needs to in good light.

I'm ready to purchase the k3 III with 11-18 f 2.8 kit, but will look at the ff lenses cited instead - seems like a fine idea to lean towards purchasing FF lenses in case I ever do make a megapixel+sensor leap.

I didn't actually like the quality of the DA 18-135, especially wide it seemed not very sharp in places, and the min. fStop was limiting at times.


Where I'm missing focus is with large aperture shots of animals (ok, dogs) running towards me - the AF is still where the dog was 0.2 seconds ago, or a 6-12inches behind the actual dog... I am planning to experiment with a manual focus point just below center frame to compensate for speed when framing animal in center. Makes sense in theory.

09-13-2021, 11:56 PM - 1 Like   #8
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So....for the sake clarity, if this thread is really about you upgrading to the K-3 Mark III (not the K-1 MarkII), all your lenses will work exactly as they did on the K-70.

If we are not talking about the K-1 Mark II, perhaps the title of the thread should be changed. If you are not sure how to do it, I can walk you through, or even do it for you if that is easier

Last edited by Sandy Hancock; 09-14-2021 at 03:57 AM.
09-14-2021, 03:23 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
So....for the sake clarity, if this thread is really about you upgrading to the K-1 Mark III (not the K-1 MarkII), all your lenses will work exactly as they did on the K-70
Where can I buy the K-1 Mark III, sign me up! .

My only input will be: keep all ILC camera gear including your new kit away from salt water, unless it is in a dedicated waterproof housing. No manufacturer can make a water proof body with interchangeable lenses.
09-14-2021, 03:57 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kevin B123 Quote
Where can I buy the K-1 Mark III, sign me up! .
Dammit! Typo fixed
09-14-2021, 06:30 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emirena Quote
Where I'm missing focus is with large aperture shots of animals (ok, dogs) running towards me - the AF is still where the dog was 0.2 seconds ago, or a 6-12inches behind the actual dog... I am planning to experiment with a manual focus point just below center frame to compensate for speed when framing animal in center. Makes sense in theory.
There are other solutions to your dilemma. Much as I hate to say it Sony has the best reputation for AF accuracy for difficult moving subjects. Perhaps you should consider one of their APSc models and a suitable lens for just the animal scenario. You could replace your K70 with another, or a KP if your funds can stretch.
I myself use both Pentax and Fuji systems. I would be loath to give up my Pentax OVF, better user interface and better in camera processing to completely switch to mirrorless, despite the current fad that "mirrorless" is better. It is for some things, but not for others. The K3iii is by all accounts a very fine camera, I am very tempted myself, but it comes at a cost. FWIW my KP does not keep up as well with my dog compared to my X-H1. Despite the improvements to AF of the K3 iii, I doubt it would be superior or even a match in AF terms compared to a Sony. Of course there are many other reasons why you may prefer the K3 iiii!
09-14-2021, 06:55 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by richard0170 Quote
Despite the improvements to AF of the K3 iii, I doubt it would be superior or even a match in AF terms compared to a Sony.
Please come back when you have comparative evidence to support this supposition.
09-14-2021, 06:58 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Not to completely derail the thread, but it doesn't look like you have many WR lenses. What lens was on it when it flooded? In my experience, the weather seals on Pentax cameras with a WR lens on it are good for being under a running faucet, hurricane rain, and I've seen folks submerge them for a second or so at something like 1 foot below the water to photograph swimmers.

I recently upgraded to the K3III, and the autofocus is quite good. It's probably not what the mirrorless folks get, but it's good enough for following around kids and dogs and such. Just get the 55-300 PLM.

09-14-2021, 07:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Please come back when you have comparative evidence to support this supposition.
Why? What? Yes, it is a supposition, but since most of us are unable to test a K3 iii, we have to rely on online reviews and YouTube and gather what information we can from those sources. Sony does have the reputation from these sources as having the best AF. I say this as no fan of Sony (I actually rather dislike their camera offerings for quite a few reasons) and a committed Pentax user. I am merely offering a reasonable solution to the OP's query, If you can find a comparative AF review of the K3 iii and Sony, which proves my supposition wrong I will be more than happy. I am in no way denigrating the K3 iii and certainly want it to succeed.
09-14-2021, 07:24 AM   #15
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Such supposition serves no useful purpose. Especially for someone already invested in the Pentax ecosystem
Come back with evidence.
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