New Camera!

December 18, 2021 1:59 pm

I've been saving up for a few years and waiting for Pentax to release a new flagship APS-C DSLR. I wanted to see what they came out with and decide whether to upgrade to it or decide to leave the Pentax brand for something else. This year they released the K-3 mark iii, which got reviews like "The last great DSLR?" (tom's guide) and "A Great Camera Nobody Will Want" [because it's a DSLR] (fstoppers).

I like the DSLR experience and much of the reviews discussed how enjoyable the K-3 iii is to use. So after months of waffling and thinking and waiting for a discount, I bought one in order to have it before Christmas. And it's an excellent camera. A major upgrade from my K-7 and a joy to use. The auto focus is fast and accurate, the low-light capability is magical, and the shutter click sound is very satisfying.

I'm very pleased to discover that the K-3 iii can operate my 35mm lens perfectly (Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 SMC AL). It always had focusing issues on the K-7 and I wondered if the lens was defective. I attached it to the K-3 iii, though, and it's fantastic. I'm really glad I'll get to use this lens now. With a f/2.4 aperture and short focal length it's very good for in-the-house shooting with less-than-ideal lighting. This was a big reason I bought the lens, but its performance on the K-7 was very disappointing. It had very inconsistent focus issues and calibration didn't resolve it.

But enough chatter, let's see some images.

Here's a wide-open shot using the 35mm focused right on the door handle as desired:

And a comparison shot of Phoenix using the same lens on the K-7 (top) and K-3 iii (bottom):

K-7, 35mm f/2.4, 6400 ISO. Back-focused and noisy
K-3 iii, 35mm f/2.4, 8000 ISO. Perfectly focused and no noise.

Phoenix will not stay out of the tree, despite our best efforts:

The girls' school had a "Light up the Night" event on Friday which I used as an opportunity to test out the camera in real-life conditions:

I am quite pleased with its performance. Those shots were outside at night with very little lighting, but still crisp and usable.

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