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K-3 review in AP

Discussion in 'Pentax Chat' started by Monobod, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Hi,

    I have just received a free copy of AP inside my RPS magazine. It is the one with the review of the K-3. In this Richard Sibley comments that he had to apply +1 to +1.3EV to get correct exposures and then he suffered from blown highlights on occasions.

    My understanding is that Pentax do bias the exposure towards the dark side in order to preserve highlight detail on purpose. I can only assume that he was shooting perhaps in jpeg rather than RAW, but I would have thought that with a camera of this level of specification, the user would shoot in RAW as the norm. We know that in ACR it is possible to easily recover shadow detail without blowing the highlights. To my mind this bias is favorable and useful rather than a failing.

    Of course, users new to Pentax may find this feature to be a bit off putting until it is explained to them as to why it is there. It is a feature, not a mistake surely. My K-10, K-20, K-7 and the K-5 all exhibited this tendency and I have grown to appreciate it and make adjustments in ACR, if and when needed.

    One small issue I have with magazines generally is that the printing quality does not seem to be quite up to reproducing the images well enough to do justice to the cameras. None of us want to pay £10 for an art quality mag, obviously. So I would like to suggest that the original RAW files are made available, via a password to subscribers perhaps, as downloads from the website. Would this be possible I wonder? We could then get to see exactly how good the results are, or is that asking too much.
     
  2. Richard Sibley

    Richard Sibley AP Deputy Editor

    I always shoot raw + JPEG when testing for the magazine so that I can compare the images quickly to see exactly what the camera is doing.

    I don't have the issue to hand right this second, but believe that I explained that the camera underexposes to try and retain blown out highlights, but on some occasions I there are still lost details. To achieve a nice 'print ready' image I had to apply significant exposure compensation (1EV+) on numerous occasions. For some this isn't what they want in a DSLR, and as such I reported it in my test.

    I believe I also commented that the 'dark' metering is a trait of Pentax cameras.

    Believe it or not i am a fan of Pentax cameras, and I hope that this comes across in the copy. However, I have to report what i found, so that readers who may be considering buying the camera know exactly how the camera will behave. Whilst the dark exposures may not be an issue for some, other photographers would rather sacrifice some highlight detail for the sake of an image that is more 'printable' straight from the camera, and has less noise in shadow areas.

    If anything I found that I could overexpose from what the evaluative metering quoting and still have enough highlight detail that could be 'recovered' in camera raw.

    The sample images in the test clearly show the original JPEG exposures and the edited raw images and just how much detail is recoverable.
     
  3. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Hello Richard,

    I did not mean to be critical of your review, if that came across it was not intended. I think you have given an honest and fair report. I agree that this trait that Pentax have for under exposure is odd. It was most pronounced on the K-20 and somewhat put me off the camera, which I changed for the K-7 as soon as I could. It does take some getting used to and sometimes I have wished for a 'more accurate' assessment from the camera, but as I say, I have grown used to it. I only shoot in RAW and process everything in ACR, so the exposure adjustment has become second nature. I also sometimes dial in a bit of + compensation too. :) The K-5 is better than the earlier models though, I feel.

    I currently use the K-5 and have not noticed any serious problem with noise below about 800 ISO on it, which is fine. I was a bit worried that the K-3 may have some noise at 400 and above, but this seems to be well controlled. In a way I would not be surprised if it were there when one considers how small the pixels are. This was always going to be a worry with a high resolution APS-C sensor I suspect.

    Like a lot of Pentax users, I am still hoping for a FF body that will really compete with the D800e, a camera I would buy into if it were not for the cost of replacing all of the lenses and other kit I have now. At my age, I do not have too much time left to wait! :(

    Thanks for the reply on an interesting report.
     
  4. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Interesting points.

    With my copy (or was it with last week's AP?) I found sales catalogues trying to secure my Xmas spending, and sadly for Pentax, they didn't seem to be listed. I'm old enough to remember the days when Pentax (and Super-Multi-Coatied Takumar) was the brand to get, and the Spotmatic was well regarded. More competition for the big two can't be bad, but only if they manage to sell in significant numbers.
     
  5. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    At a recent AP outing in Newcastle I got to use a K5 for the afternoon. I noticed and commented on the fact that some of the shadows came out dark but there was plenty of detail that could be recovered (in FastStone in my case). In fact I rather liked this feature and I think it is an advantage, although if one just uses the camera as a point and shoot it may be off putting.
     
  6. robbiec

    robbiec Member

    Strange tone in this. First of mentions the struggle that Pentax has had with various owners, fair enough but then uses the example of Jessop's not stocking Pentax... I was under the impression that Pentax UK did not want to give Jessop's the necessary credit line to keep their kit in the by then going backrupt concern.

    AF? no mention of its accuracy in low light conditions. Surely that would be something to test seeing as Pentax / Ricoh are quite proud of focusing capability down to -3EV

    Funnily enough, the K-3 seems to out resolve the Nikon D610 if i'm reading this weeks AP correctly.
     
  7. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    How would you test AF? (i.e. in a manner suitable for publication in a serious magazine, and on a repeatable basis from one body/lens combo to another?)

    It's something I've given some thought to, and I may even have written to AP in the past. It's not easy - my 000s of tests against the local Parkrun runners using a Canon 1D Mk III & later, 1D Mk IV seemed to suggest that the designs on the runners' vests were by far the most important aspect. Trying to hold the AF spot on their faces was far too difficult for anything vaguely scientific.... Now, if I had a large garden and a big fast model train set...
     
  8. robbiec

    robbiec Member

    To be repeatable it would need to be a set focusing challenge, i.e. could be focusing chart or something as simple as an X on a card. This focusing challenge would be placed in an environment where the lighting could be modified in stops. Generally I think AP use something like a Sigma macro across the various brands so that could be set to infinity and AF response measured. Set the distance equally for the challenge and see what happens. Lower spec cameras should give up earlier that the higher ones theoretically but how do we know without some sort of measurement.

    Failing that, lower a black cat down into a dry well and see if any camera can focus on it :)
     

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