Pentax k3 for sports

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by kylebybee, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. I currently own a Nikon D7000 and a Fuji xt1. I plan on shooting sports this year, namely cycling (road and mount bike) and maybe some others. The question is with the prices on the k3 being so low right now I was curious if that would be a better route than adding the new D500? Does anyone here shoot fast sports with the k3? how is the auto focus keeper rate?
  2. The word on the street is that Canons are the go to cameras for shooting sports. Pentaxes are not exactly the gold standard for sports or action because of their balky autofocusing.
  3. Thank you
  4. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    Nonsense. The K3 is a fantastic and brilliant camera to shoot sports. Just to name drop one member check out our regular contributor Matt Burt's work who shoots a lot of sports on the K3. (also see the POTW)
  5. I am not up to date gear wise. I read dpreview's K3 test when it got linked here and recall this page in it: (they shoot an approaching cyclist.)
    "Ultimately, the camera's autofocus performance appears to be limited by the lens, since it appears to be doing a good job of understanding what the correct subject is, but struggling to refocus fast enough to cope with approaching subjects. This means it's quite possible the K-3 performs more effectively with the system's fastest-focusing lenses (the 60-250mm F4 being an oft-cited example). However, having tried to use a cross-section of appropriate lenses, we found that the camera wasn't able to work to its full capability - a limitation we think many users will hit."​
    Dpreview appeared more impressed by the X-T1 they shot along the Pentax.
    I am not overly familiar with Nikon but last year some D5000-something with long range kit zoom at 120mm had an easier job with approaching runners / joggers than my K20D with 135 f2.8.
    With all respect to Douglas and even more towards the great looking portfolio sports shots of Matt Burt: They look like that kind of sports shots somebody using cameras without high sports dedication wisely might bring home.
  6. There are surely better cameras for it but I shoot quite a bit of cycling with my K-3 and feel like it performs well enough for me. Hit rate will vary with the lens and with something like the 60-250 does pretty well but I'm not usually a big burst shooter. If I shoot 3 frames at a passing rider at least one will be good. The weather sealing has proven useful a few times too. For the prices they go for I'd say those K-3s would be a good buy.
  7. AJG


    I'm a mostly happy Pentax user, and the K3 has certainly improved the autofocus performance over earlier models like the K20, but the other question would be what lenses do you already own? If you have Nikon lenses suitable for the sports shooting you are interesting in doing, I would stick with Nikon bodies rather than switch systems. If you have suitable Pentax lenses, then the choice might be different.
  8. The K3 is a fine camera but I'm skeptical that you'd find it better than the D7000 in terms of daylight AF, particular continuous/tracking. You might find other things about the K3 you'd like better but that probably isn't one of them. I would also probably pick Nikon's dedicated flash system over Pentax's.
    Not sure how fps/buffering performance compares between D7000 and K3.
  9. I found the k-5II's shutter more responsive than Canon, when it came to quick auto-focus(not sure about the K3) and I have shot action sports including marathon races for years. When it comes to these things, I think auto/tracking is over blown. Better to use one single focusing point and fire away. In those circumstances you got your finger on the shutter almost like you are shooting a movie anyway so it does not matter that much. I could be wrong...
  10. I belive the D7000 is a 16mp APS-C model? If so, an excellent camera, low noise and high performance. I think Andrew is perhaps right regarding Nikon lenses you already own, depending on the quality of these particular lenses. You might be better off putting your money towards an additional or a better Nikon lens.
    If the D500 is a full-frame model, I fail to see the logic for sports, because many sports require some degree of telephoto shots. APS-C is especially more suited for telephoto use over full frame, because you'd have to use a much larger, heavier, more expensive lens in many cases, to get the same shot in your frame at the same distance.
  11. AJG


    The Nikon D 500 is APS-C like the D 7000, so the benefits of longer reach with telephoto lenses would be the same. The D-5 is the full frame model.
  12. Right, Andrew. I looked it up. For two grand you get 4 more mp's resolution, an articulating LCD, 10 fps instead of 6 fps, and I'm sure a few more electronic updates over the D7000, but then lose the built-in flash. The buffer is larger, but the D7000 buffer is already pretty good. Depends I guess on how much burst shooting is done and the actual difference in results. Seems rather costly for the upgrades offered unless there is a real need for a particular upgrade.
  13. Hi Kyle,
    About 8 years ago I moved from using a Pentax K-20D to using a Canon 7D as my work requirements for shooting sports increased significantly. The improvement was exponential. Fast forward to about two years ago when I gave the K-3 a try because it had a lot of nice upgrades. I used the K-3 to shoot demanding indoor soccer and outdoor soccer in fairly lousy lighting conditions. Though the camera's sensor allowed me to shoot a couple of stops faster than the 7D, unfortunately the K-3 couldn't perform as well. I'd say it equaled about 60-70% of the 7D in freezing critical action. This was due to both inferior AF magic and a lack of available lenses that were designed to work with the Pentax system. Perhaps the new 150-450mm zoom would perform better--really it ought to.
    I quickly sold the K-3 and just about all of my other Pentax equipment. Nowadays I use a 5DMK3 for both birds and team sports. Its AF is excellent, even though the frame rate is only 6FPS at best. I also use the 7D.
    Since you have a Nikon system, I'd advise you stay with that. The tracking AF capabilities of the new Nikon cameras are outstanding--at least the equal of Canon. I think if I was starting over today, I'd get the D750 and maybe the D500. I'd also recommend you check out the new Nikon 200-500mm, Thom Hogan has a very positive review.
    I think you have to decide if this camera will be used primarily for sports and if not, what else will you be shooting and how important is it? I use my FF 5DMK3 for just about everything as the resolution quality is a lot better with the sports shooting lenses I favor such as the Tamron 150-600mm. The dropoff with the 7D is quite obvious. I don't know if it is the lens or the camera. And I don't know if this quality difference happens with other new telezooms.
    That all said, your D7000 may just serve you quite well if you put a decent lens on it. That Tamron is a low-end consumer lens that in my experience is notoriously slow to focus. That new Nikon lens may be all you need. Shooting vehicle races is less demanding than semi-random team sports as you can position yourself at a key spot and predictably watch your target come into the frame. Then you can work getting the backgrounds just right, especially with a longer zoom.

  14. Hello Kyle! I did a year or two of track/field and indoor competitive cheer with the K3. I will be the first to admit that there seems to be some, but not a lot, of focusing glitches. The more I used it, the more I understood what it can do and what settings would be best. 99% of my track pics are hand held only because I like the freedom to run about. That being said, I will be doing it again this year and will absolutely bring my monopod because after critiquing my pics, I feel the ONLY thing missing is 1 extra helping hand to make me completely satisfied.
    I would not shy away from the K3 based only on internet opinions and reviews. It is a durable beast with a small form factor with a pretty high FPS rate. I took hundreds of pics in the rain with zero protection, only to look back at the "pro" Cannon/Nikon shooters under tarps, umbrellas and gear covered with plastic wrap and bags. AND they were stationary while I was walking around freely with no worries and getting more original/creative angles of view.
    I do have a few samples in my portfolio, they are not the best of the best (those are saved for the parents/athletes), but it will at least give you an idea of it's capabilities. I considered leaving the Pentax line but came right back and I can't wait for this spring and another Track season. You always get better with experience!
    Hope this helps even if you have already made up your mind.

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