Experiences with the new K-3 Camera (Lots of Photos)


fengwei

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#1
It's been a couple of weeks since the K3 officially became available. There are a lot reviews already, and some of them are very detailed, all of them praised K3 and considered it as the best APSC camera available right now:

http://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/pentax-k-3-review/introduction.html?src=notice
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pentax-k-3-digital-slr-review-23409
http://www.thephoblographer.com/2013/11/17/essentials-street-fashion-blogger/

I'm sorry my promised review has been delayed until now. No excuse, just too lazy I guess...

Anyway, I've had the new K3 for about a week and two weekends. Before that I played the pre-production set for a few days. I won't repeat what the above reviewers already said (and please do take a look at those reviews if you want to know more about this excellent camera). I just wanna emphasise on a few improvements K3 has over the previous cameras, especially the K5II/s and K30.
 

fengwei

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#2
SOLID Build
My initial feeling is that the camera is SOLID! Yes, it feels even more solid than the K5/II/s. The grip is slightly deeper, which improves the holding and feeling in hands. I guess we all know that WR is a big selling point for Pentax dSLR cameras, especially here in South East Asia countries.

FAST in operation and focusing
I've mentioned it before (during my hands-on review), and I'd confirm again that this is the fastest Pentax camera I've ever played, and I've had pretty much all Pentax SLR/DSLR cameras (minus medium or large fram cameras). Everything seems to be faster: changing settings, auto focusing and taking photos, card access... It's just a turbo boosted K5IIs. The live-view focusing is the fastest I've ever tried on any dSLR camera, it's probaby faster than many mirrorless cameras too in this regard.

K3 also features a super fast continuous shooting speed at 8.3FPS. I'd never use my camera like a machine gun, but I'm sure many out there love doing so. It's good to see that we finally have a camera which is faster than most other dSLR cameras from Canon/Nikon when we want to take multi-frame action photos.

Accurate Metering, AWB and auto focusing
This might have been mentioned elsewhere, but probably not emphasised. Thanks to its 86K pixel RGB light-metering sensor and improved algorithms in exposure, multi-pattern white balance and SAFOX11 autofocus module, K3 is the most accurate camera in exposure, WB and AF that I've ever used. I mentioned that the camera is really fast, now best of all, it's not just fast, the focusing is very accurate too. So far all my lenses are all spot on, be it indoor under dim light or under bright sun. Plus spot on metering and white balance, I'm sure everyone would benefit from all these enhancement.
 

fengwei

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#3
Anti-Aliasing filter simulator
K3 features a newly developed anti-aliasing simulator which helps eliminating the need to commit to either supreme resolution or superior moiré control. This is probably the 1st camera which features a selectable anti-aliasing filter, giving the user the ability to easily toggle anti-aliasing functionality on or off. If you read in the above reviews, you'd see that K3's anti-aliasing simulator applies microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the subpixel level during image exposure, generating the same level of moiré-reduction effect as an optical anti-aliasing filter. Note: This function is most effective with a shutter speed of 1/1000 second or slower. This function is not available during HDR shooting.

I've yet got chance to try this feature myself, here are some samples I copied from Pentax brochure:
The actual scene:

And different AA filter simulation effect:


I'm sure this would come in handy when needed.
 

fengwei

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#4
Dual SD card slots with optional FLU, Eye-fi wireless and SDX Memory card compatibility
I've wanted this feature for years. Thank you Pentax for giving us this. Now we can put two SD cards in at the same time, and they can be customized to different purpose:
one card for still image and the other for video
one card for main storage and the other as backup
one FLU/Eye-fi wireless card in one slot while a normal SD card in the other
...
I haven't got a wifi capable SD card yet (which I'm sure I will in the near future), right now I put in two cards, one for video and one for still photos, works perfectly.

USB3.0 connection
I guess most of us are still using USB2.0 or even USB1.0 card readers when dumping photos from the camera to computers, which is still much faster than copying photos directly from the previous cameras to computers through USB connection. With K3, I bet you'd love to copy photos to computers through the built-in USB3.0 port, which is really fast.

Now Pentax please give us the tethering, so we can use this USB3.0 capability in full.
 

fengwei

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#5
professional H.264 video
Since K-01 Pentax cameras have improved a lot in video recording, but only until K3 that Pentax really take video recording very seriously: dedicated video record button, full HD movie capture in the H.264 format (60i/50i/30p/24p), the ability to switch from still image to video recording with the flip of a dedicated switch. The user can also adjust the audio recording level manually and monitor sound levels during recording. Other than the microphone terminal for external microphone connection, there is even a headphone jack on the front shoulder of the camera.

I was pretty surprised when I saw the headphone jack, couldn't help but plug in my favorite IEMs (an AKG K3003i), here we have a best DAP combo:





Don't know if Pentax would make MP3 player feature available on this cool camera :D
 

fengwei

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#6
Common Pentax senses
Other than those I mentioned above, we Pentaxians have been really enjoying these common features in most Pentax dSLR cameras: in-body shake reduction, WR sealed body, Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage (and K3 even features 95% magnification), Magnesium alloy body w/ stainless steel chassis, excellent ergonomics, built-in electronic level,


There are way too many new features in this new camera, I can't describe them all here. Better read the more detailed info from the review links I post in the beginning, so you'd know more about the camera.
 

fengwei

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#7
Here come to the best part of my review, actual photos. But as usual, before I post the sample photos, I'd love to show off the new camera first:









What a beauty! Pity this isn't mine. It's from a good friend (another long time diehard Pentax fan).
 

fengwei

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#8
I've bought limited edition silver K5 before, loved it. But this round I decided to go w/ the black one:





The lens mounted on the second photo is the newly release DA 55-300 HD WR lens. We all know what WR stands for, HD is a new improved coating over previous SMC coatings. This is another beautiful lens which everyone should consider to get one:



As mentioned earlier, I only had the new camera for a week plus, and before that I tried a preproduction set for a couple of days. So far I've really enjoyed using the camera, and it's definitely the best camera I've ever had.
 

fengwei

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#9
I don't want to show you photos of boring charts this time, or comparison photos between the new K3 and earlier K5IIs or K30. I'll just post some actual photos I've taken during a couple of school events my kids participated, and some street photos as usual. Hope you enjoy viewing them. Oh btw, all photos were taken in JPG with minimum post processing (some photos I've posted already during my hands-on review, but the links were gone. Here I'm posting them again together with some new photos I took).

The following photos were taken with the preproduction K3:









 

fengwei

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#17
I have some other photos which I haven't got chance to look at them yet. Will do so when time comes.

From what I've experienced so far, I'd say for most users this can be the ultimate camera, and the final camera you ever need. There are so many other improvement or features I can't cover, the best way to find out is to get the camera yourself :)
 

richiemccaw1

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Feb 21, 2013
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#18
I've been sitting on the fence wrt the K3. Ever since being bitten by the sports photography bug I've been looking at getting an APSC with a telephoto lens.

Care to share how much the DA 55-300 HD WR lens costs please? Plus there are some reviews that talk about how the K3's AF not being that 'good' for sports photography?

Would be happy to hear your comments on these. Thanks!
 

Zenten

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Jun 13, 2004
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#19
From what I've experienced so far, I'd say for most users this can be the ultimate camera, and the final camera you ever need. There are so many other improvement or features I can't cover, the best way to find out is to get the camera yourself :)

Now where have I heard that before??........ :think:...............:bsmilie:
 

felixcat8888

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May 8, 2005
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#20
I have some other photos which I haven't got chance to look at them yet. Will do so when time comes.

From what I've experienced so far, I'd say for most users this can be the ultimate camera, and the final camera you ever need. There are so many other improvement or features I can't cover, the best way to find out is to get the camera yourself :)
Thanks for the great review Frank. Looks like Pentax is really improving its cameras with good features.
 

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