Better in every way

Started Dec 10, 2013 | User reviews thread
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Isherwood
Isherwood New Member • Posts: 12
Better in every way
8

The early impressions after 3 weeks of casual snapping are very positive.

This body is an upgrade to a K-5 which got used a lot over 2+ years. Pentax/Ricoh made numerous upgrades to a very good camera, none of the upgrades are game-changers but taken together the result is very impressive.

To those unfamiliar with the Pentax K-single-digit family they are solid, reliable performers in robust, confidence inspiring bodies with excellent viewfinders & ergonomics. Compared to the K-5 the new autofocus system is a distinct improvement, it is fast & accurate & its low-light sensitivity is a wonder to behold. The new 'n' improved focussing motor gives uncannily fast responsiveness with screw-drive lenses, so ironically the better lenses with their own focussing motors now feel leisurely, but Rolls-Royce versus Ferrari is the sort of dilemma I'm happy to live with.

I could be wrong but I feel that the area covered by the AF system should have been expanded. The main array of 25 points covers the central 10% of the image, just like the previous models. Given that a new AF sensor was developed it seems a shame to have been conservative with the coverage, but maybe I am splitting hairs here.

I haven't noticed any benefit from the new metering system but there wasn't anything wrong with the K-5's (& this is an early review). I have noticed that the K-3 sometimes varies the white balance it chooses from shot to identical shot, but hey, who doesn't always shoot raw?

& what of the pictures? At this early stage all I can conclude is 'superb'. Out of the box the K-3 is set to give a punchy image (it's what sells) but once put on 'Natural' setting the sharpening artefacts go away, not that you'd notice unless you are pixel peeping pictures of engravings or other subjects with high contrast fine patterning. The better lenses are needed to get all 24 of those mega pixels, but ever was it that the body represents a small part of the total cost of a camera system.

So, what weaknesses does the K-3 have? I find (or rather I don't find) the new metering mode button to be a failure. The K-5 has a mechanical switch on the left shoulder which wasn't brilliant but I had got used to it & it worked fairly well with my eye to the finder. Hopefully Pentax will add metering mode as an option to the Fx soft function button. The other unaccountable weakness is the manual, the K-5 came with a useful booklet but the K-3 is supplied with a pamphlet. I recommend downloading the K-5II manual to any owner, almost all the information applies to the K-3.

I don't regret buying the K-3 & expect years of satisfying photography. I have no idea how it compares to Canon, Nikon or Sony, all I know is that I'm happy with what I have.

 Isherwood's gear list:Isherwood's gear list
Pentax K-5 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Pentax smc DA 40mm F2.8 Limited +14 more
Pentax K-3
24 megapixels • 3.2 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Oct 7, 2013
Isherwood's score
5.0
Average community score
4.7
Pentax K-3 Pentax K-5
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