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05-03-2022, 10:07 AM   #1
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K-70 upgrade for birding, bugs and some astro.

Good Morning!

I've been tearing myself apart listing the pros and cons of the K3-III vs the K1-II vs jumping to a different ecosystem (Canon R6?).

I print photos via sublimation on fine weave fabric, sometimes yards long, but the typical size is about 3x5'. The results are decent given the leaps AI driven post processing has taken in the last few years.

The main reason I'm looking to upgrade is that I want a body with better AF and better low-light functionality. Sometimes I can only get one shot off on a subject, I'd like the AF to be slightly better than the K-70. My subsequent shots where I manually dial in the focus are usually great, but I'd like photo #1 to be a hit more often than a miss. At the moment, shot number 1 is usually pretty close, but just off enough for me to hate it.

The thought of the higher MP of the K1 appeals to me, but I also know the APS-C will feature more of my subject in the frame, and I'll crop less in post. Going the Canon route is basically starting from scratch, and I think I've talked myself out of it.

My lenses are -

Sigma 18-35 1.8 art
Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8
DA 55-300
15-55 kit
50-200 kit
I also have the GPS unit, and I know about the K3 firmware upgrade.

I'm leaning towards the K3-III and if I get it, grabbing the TC and the 300mm star lens.

I've never touched a K3, and I know it's heavier than the K-70. Am I leaning in the right direction, or is there something else I'm missing?

05-03-2022, 11:03 AM   #2
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I get the feeling you're missing "something", but I'm not quite sure what.
The K-70 should focus just fine if you give the a/f time to "lock" onto the subject, especially if you've got time to subsequently focus manually and get it right!
Are you using the optical viewfinder or Liveview?
If using the optical viewfinder, is your camera set to Focus Priority, so the shutter doesn't release unless the subject is in focus?
The higher number of megapixels in the K-1 can be a bit of a red herring … you need full-frame lenses to be able to take full advantage of the bigger sensor, if you treat it like an APS-C camera it's effectively only 18Mpixels!
The K-3iii is a leap and a bound ahead and above the K-70 in most departments ... if you've got the need for the extra features
If you feel the teleconverter and 300mm lens will be good for you, get them anyway and try them on the K-70 … that may be all the expenditure you need to make.
As you already have the O-GPS1 you'll not be benefitting from much with the K-3iii … indeed, I prefer the articulated screen on the K-70 for use in high-elevation astro work, saves a lot of bending and peering, especially if the camera is low to the ground to keep it out of the wind
As with the KP, the low-light capabilities of the K-3iii can be a bit misleading. Great if you're happy working in monochrome and looking for that "retro grainy" effect. Minimising the "noise" and associated colour distortion in an ultra-high ISO image can be a bit of a chore and will likely take quite a bit of practice to consistently achieve results you're content with.
05-03-2022, 11:05 AM   #3
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I shoot milky way landscapes with the K1. My friend shoots with both the K70 and K1mkII. His K70 with the Sigma 18-35/f1.8 (and acceleration chip) matches my K1 with a 15-30/f2.8 or ZK 25/f2.8 lens in terms of dynamic range, and his images are equally stunning.

I've looked at some of the internal noise and DR curves from the K3-III on https://photonstophotos.net/ and the K3-III should do exceedingly well with lower noise floors and DR at a lower ISO - without any of the star eating effects (i.e., as in Sony). The only single drawback I see with the K1/K1-II is glass. There isn't a lens to match the Sigma 18-35/f1.8 for the full frame K1 family. You have the 15-30/f2.8 the 21/f2.4 and the Sigma 34/f1.4 which are all excellent, but really nothing as good as the 18-35 (which at 18 crop would be a 27 ff). There are the Rokinon/Samyang, but you have decentering, QC and build problems. The IRIX 21/f1.4 is not available yet and who knows what you will actually get there. Plus, with the full-frame glass, you also get as an extra added bonus heavier vignetting and usually some coma.

So, in terms of staying with a crop sensor vs a full frame given the rest of your shooting, I would just stay with the crop and go with the K3-III. Also, I have been reading that the K3-III AF is exceptional. Also the 1.4xTC is excellent too.

I will say that not having an articulating rear screen is a killer for me. I've gotten so use to having the moon lander monitor - it's now a must have.

Here are some charts....

Last edited by interested_observer; 05-03-2022 at 11:20 AM.
05-03-2022, 12:00 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote
Good Morning!

I've been tearing myself apart listing the pros and cons of the K3-III . . .
the K 3 III is currently being discounted:

$1696.95 at Adorama, Amazon and B & H

QuoteQuote:
Save $300 on the Pentax K-3 Mark III
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A new month often means new savings, but today there's an extra special treat for those who have been waiting for the Pentax K-3 Mark III: as of May 1st, the camera is available for $300 off— the lowest overall price we have seen since its launch. The savings apply to both the black and silver models.
Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/articles/deals/pentax-k-3-iii-save-300-dollars-...#ixzz7SFkpK3Kn

QuoteQuote:
Order the Pentax K-3 III: Get one year of site supporter status (US)
Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/210-pentax-k-3-iii/422683-order-pentax-k...#ixzz7SFl9hLLG


Last edited by aslyfox; 05-03-2022 at 12:36 PM.
05-03-2022, 01:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote
The thought of the higher MP of the K1 appeals to me, but I also know the APS-C will feature more of my subject in the frame, and I'll crop less in post.
Welcome to the forum. You are correct in your statement here. As to your interest in birding or other telephoto needs, advantage is with high-quality APS-C. I have both the KP and the K-1 II. The 36mp superior resolution of my K-1 II rarely shows itself. This advantage emerges when shooting with a longer lens to match the framing of a shorter lens of similar quality on my KP from the same distance. So its advantages come to bear more in wide angle to shorter tele uses, where lenses are not as large. It does also perform even yet better for higher ISO usage, though my KP is also exceptionally fine.

However, the K-3 III will come very close to the K-1 II in regard to higher ISO use. It is a a much more durable and advanced camera compared to your K-70, but don't expect a huge advancement in overall image quality. You could then keep your K-70 as a backup model, and for its articulating rear screen for low or high shots. Good for low-position macro or semi-macro. You'd then have all your bases covered for articulating screen, AF, higher ISO, durability, advanced controls, and burst shooting for action. But you'd also need a lens upgrade or two to realize some of these advancements. Like the PLM version of the DA 55-300mm if yours is not already. One thing at a time is easier on the pocketbook, if that is an issue.

I agree with interested_observer.

---------- Post added 05-03-22 at 02:00 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote
I'm leaning towards the K3-III and if I get it, grabbing the TC and the 300mm star lens.
This would also be a good move for more reach and finest quality imaging. But I am wondering if Pentax intends to eventually upgrade the AF on these star SDM lenses.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-03-2022 at 08:20 PM.
05-03-2022, 02:26 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
But I am wondering if Pentax intends to eventually upgrade the AF on these star SDM lenses.
People say “glass is forever” - then talk about improving lenses.

AF is a ‘team effort’.
It is not clear to me whether the “weakest link” for Pentax is bodies or lenses right now.

Last edited by reh321; 05-03-2022 at 02:35 PM.
05-03-2022, 03:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
. . . the ďweakest linkĒ . . .
it's clear, at least speaking personally -

I am the weakest link

if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again

05-03-2022, 08:09 PM   #8
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I don't know the K-70. But the difference of K-1 versus K3-III is striking for bird photography. K3-III is way faster. As pointed out above. The noise even at higher ISO is way better. The photo attached is straight out of camera, just cropped to tolerable size. ISO is 3200
Attached Images
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PENTAX K-3 Mark III  Photo 
05-03-2022, 08:57 PM   #9
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It is a no brainer for you : K3iii

I will be getting one as soon as I have the readies. I have a k1 and just love it but the K3iii is going to be the bomb for birding and bugs.
05-04-2022, 05:11 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote

I've been tearing myself apart listing the pros and cons of the K3-III vs the K1-II vs jumping to a different ecosystem (Canon R6?).
More than likely this forum is fairly Pentax biased and the answers here are going to lean in that direction pretty heavily. I personally have a dislike for Canon as a company but thatís personal not rational. So my advice will focus mainly on what Pentax gear choices make the most sense - without addressing the larger question of should you switch to Canon. I will say that my full frame is Sony and the ecosystem of lenses is very large which can be overwhelming.

QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote
The main reason I'm looking to upgrade is that I want a body with better AF and better low-light functionality. Sometimes I can only get one shot off on a subject, I'd like the AF to be slightly better than the K-70. My subsequent shots where I manually dial in the focus are usually great, but I'd like photo #1 to be a hit more often than a miss. At the moment, shot number 1 is usually pretty close, but just off enough for me to hate it.
Technique may be useful to discuss. Is this with moving or static subjects? (Or both?) Pentax tracking isnít known for being the most intuitive and easiest to tune out of the box. Iíve never been heavily into bird shooting so my own experience is limited. My Sony A7R III isnít a top contender for tracking animals either and my KP vs A7R III experience in shooting birds leads me to say I get a slightly better hit ratio with Sony but the difference isnít massive - and Iím not a master of either system in this type of photography.

QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote
The thought of the higher MP of the K1 appeals to me, but I also know the APS-C will feature more of my subject in the frame, and I'll crop less in post. Going the Canon route is basically starting from scratch, and I think I've talked myself out of it.
As mentioned Iíve got a KP (24mp APSC) and an A7R III (42mp). The apsc crop of the Sony is 18mp (K-1 apsc crop is about 15mp) and the KP definitely can put more pixels on a smaller subject. Honestly the differences arenít massive most of the time. The accelerator seems to work reasonably well and the full frame light advantage is rarely practically noticed with those two cameras (the Sony has slight advantages at moderately higher iso - less noticeable at lower iso).

QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote
My lenses are -

Sigma 18-35 1.8 art
Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8
DA 55-300
15-55 kit
50-200 kit
I also have the GPS unitÖ
Other than the macro every lens would need to be replaced if you went full frame. The last two lenses are less desirable although most versions of the 18-55 are fine. The 55-300 comes in multiple versions, if you donít have the PLM version itís strongly recommended for improving focusing speed and accuracy.

QuoteOriginally posted by Velocidodo Quote
I'm leaning towards the K3-III and if I get it, grabbing the TC and the 300mm star lens.
If it were me Iíd get the PLM lens before doing anything else - and see what this did to improve things. Then Iíd rent a k-3iii and maybe a D FA 150-450.

Iíd also watch the Nightaxians episodes and get their input on Astro. Theyíre all k-1 users and yet they might have some info about using the apsc gear you have.

The following actions are at the top of the list of you stay with Pentax:

Acquire
DA 55-300 PLM

Rent
1.4x TC
DA* 300
D FA 150-450
DA* 16-50 PLM
K-3iii
K-1
D FA 28-105
D FA 15-30

I suggest rental because nothing beats hands on. Alternately find someone near you that has some of this gear and is willing to let you work with it.

Last edited by UncleVanya; 05-04-2022 at 05:17 AM.
05-04-2022, 05:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
More than likely this forum is fairly Pentax biased and the answers here are going to lean in that direction pretty heavily. I personally have a dislike for Canon as a company but that’s personal not rational. So my advice will focus mainly on what Pentax gear choices make the most sense - without addressing the larger question of should you switch to Canon. I will say that my full frame is Sony and the ecosystem of lenses is very large which can be overwhelming.

Technique may be useful to discuss. Is this with moving or static subjects? (Or both?) Pentax tracking isn’t known for being the most intuitive and easiest to tune out of the box. I’ve never been heavily into bird shooting so my own experience is limited. My Sony A7R III isn’t a top contender for tracking animals either and my KP vs A7R III experience in shooting birds leads me to say I get a slightly better hit ratio with Sony but the difference isn’t massive - and I’m not a master of either system in this type of photography.
I see no reason to switch brands - the K-3iii has proven its focusing in photos I’ve seen, and I really doubt if one would spend less by switching brands.

One would see more by getting a K-1ii, but I doubt that would turn out to be a good choice either.

The only question in my mind is whether waiting would be a good move. A K-90 plus the 55-300mm PLM might be a good choice …. but it also may never happen. I am waiting because I don’t ever expect to spend $1500+ on a camera body, but I’m not sure what I would do if I were willing to spend the money to get camera - I’d probably purchase the K-3iii, but I’ve never been good at answering hypothetical questions.
05-04-2022, 05:57 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
I see no reason to switch brands - the K-3iii has proven its focusing in photos Iíve seen, and I really doubt if one would spend less by switching brands.
Static photos arenít a good way to judge autofocus performance in my expertise. I can select older shots made with manual focus that are stunning. The key is to read about the experience or try out the user perspective and not just view the curated results. Iím not the expert on bird in flight so I canít really answer that aspect on any system. I have shots Iíve made with primitive gear that I love.
05-04-2022, 06:08 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Static photos aren’t a good way to judge autofocus performance in my expertise. I can select older shots made with manual focus that are stunning. The key is to read about the experience or try out the user perspective and not just view the curated results. I’m not the expert on bird in flight so I can’t really answer that aspect on any system. I have shots I’ve made with primitive gear that I love.
The photos I’m talking about are not static. Some very good BIF photos came out when the K-3iii was first released.
I am now auditioning lenses to use with my Q-7 so I can carry a lighter kit.
In that case I would be talking manual focus, but that is a completely different discussion.
05-04-2022, 06:18 AM - 2 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Static photos arenít a good way to judge autofocus performance in my expertise. I can select older shots made with manual focus that are stunning. The key is to read about the experience or try out the user perspective and not just view the curated results. Iím not the expert on bird in flight so I canít really answer that aspect on any system. I have shots Iíve made with primitive gear that I love.
Birds in flight on the K70 was hit or miss, but yes I did get a very few I was proud of. Now with the K3III my proud action/BiF shots have gone up 10-fold.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/122-lens-clubs/569443d164902...-cb-fight1.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/210-pentax-k-3-iii/571363d16...ures-cb100.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/210-pentax-k-3-iii/570385d16...s-landing1.jpg
05-04-2022, 06:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kypfer Quote
I get the feeling you're missing "something", but I'm not quite sure what.
The K-70 should focus just fine if you give the a/f time to "lock" onto the subject, especially if you've got time to subsequently focus manually and get it right!
Are you using the optical viewfinder or Liveview?
If using the optical viewfinder, is your camera set to Focus Priority, so the shutter doesn't release unless the subject is in focus?
I've always felt something wasn't quite right with the AF on the K-70. Prior to its death, my K-50 was dead on, first shot, every time. Using optical viewfinder, and it's set to AFS with Focus priority.

QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
the K 3 III is currently being discounted
Yea so is the 300mm star, and the 1.4 TC, which is why I'm revisiting this, because there is a significant chunk of money to be saved buying now.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
Welcome to the forum. You are correct in your statement here. As to your interest in birding or other telephoto needs, advantage is with high-quality APS-C.
QuoteOriginally posted by bwgv001 Quote
I don't know the K-70. But the difference of K-1 versus K3-III is striking for bird photography. K3-III is way faster. As pointed out above. The noise even at higher ISO is way better. The photo attached is straight out of camera, just cropped to tolerable size. ISO is 3200
QuoteOriginally posted by Billking Quote
It is a no brainer for you : K3iii ...... K3iii is going to be the bomb for birding and bugs.
Thanks! It's reassuring to see votes in the same direction I was already leaning, as well as explanations backing up the reasoning.

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Technique may be useful to discuss. Is this with moving or static subjects? (Or both?) Pentax tracking isnít known for being the most intuitive and easiest to tune out of the box. Iíve never been heavily into bird shooting so my own experience is limited.

Other than the macro every lens would need to be replaced if you went full frame. The last two lenses are less desirable although most versions of the 18-55 are fine. The 55-300 comes in multiple versions, if you donít have the PLM version itís strongly recommended for improving focusing speed and accuracy.

If it were me Iíd get the PLM lens before doing anything else.
Concerning technique, 90% moving subjects. Foxes running through fields hunting, raptors diving to catch food, eagles fishing, birds and bugs in flight, etc, which is why the AF hit on the first shot matters so much to me. For static subjects, I have the ability to take control of the focus, and I'm always pleased with the results.

The 55-300 is the PLM version, my apologies for missing that on the list. I know the kit lenses aren't the best, and honestly, I haven't touched the kit since getting the Sigma.

QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
The only question in my mind is whether waiting would be a good move. A K-90 plus the 55-300mm PLM might be a good choice Ö. but it also may never happen
It's the "If it happens" that has me wondering if I should wait and see what the next year brings. But, as a bonus to the community, if I buy a K3-III tomorrow, they'll announce the next, newest, shiniest camera in 2 weeks, right after my return window closes. So maybe I should just do that to benefit everyone else.
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