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Canon vs Nikon - Mid-range battle: 80D vs D7500 - part 1 - Introduction and 80D advantages

Introduction

There's a good chance you've owned a Canon or Nikon camera as these both lead in market share in the photography domain by large margin. And if you're a newbie, you probably own an entry level body.

The natural upgrade from an entry level is a mid-range which has much more advanced features for enthusiasts and hobbyists. Users tend to stick to the same brand since changing brands means changing your existing lenses, especially if you've been heavily investing into lenses which is a real hassle. But even then there are quite a few users who aren't content with their brand and wouldn't mind switching brands while choosing a mid-range option. There are also those who would want to invest in both brands and enjoy the advantages of both camera systems. Some even opt directly for a mid-range skipping the entry level option altogether.

If you have plans to switch brands or are investing in a mid-range DSLR as your first camera then knowing pros and cons o…

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Pentax K-70 vs Pentax K-3 II - A Detailed Feature Comparison

Pentax K-70 vs Pentax K-3 II - A Detailed Comparison:


I had posted my article about K-70 vs K-S2 comparison a few days back before this. But it seems now that a lot of people are also pitching the K-70 against the K-3 II along with the K-70, and I don't blame them since Pentax has put some high end features in the K-70 which are generally reserved for flagship models.

One more point is price. It has been some time since the K-3 II is in the market & knowing Pentax, you expect some aggressive price cuts. That's what's happened with the K-3 II; the K-70's prices hover around $600-$650 mark while the K-3 II could be seen usually going at around $800 to $850 and sometimes even in the $700 range (at times the K-3 II could be seen priced lesser than its predecessor, the K-3). Pretty close for stacking them against each other.

Note: you can also have a look at the three part detailed feature comparison between K-70 and Nikon D5500 here - Pentax K-70 vs Nikon D5500 - A Detailed Feature Comparison - Part 1 to 3

Pentax K-70 (black) with the Pentax SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens attacked. Looks pretty similar to the K-S2 !.
Courtesy: Source- www.magezinepublishing.com

Here is a point by point feature comparison between the Pentax K-70 and Pentax K-3 II

I have divided this post into 4 parts
  1. Areas where the K-70 beats the K-3 II
  2. Areas where the K-3 II beats the K-70
  3. Areas where the K-70 (surprisingly) equals the K-3 II
  4. Conclusion
The Pentax K-3 II attached with the Pentax HD PENTAX DA 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR Lens. The K-3 II is the flagship crop sensor offering from Pentax, with excellent build quality, highly advanced  features, many of which aren't found in it's rivals.
Courtesy: Source-en.wikipedia.org Author- Joergens.mi


  • 1. Let's first see where the K-70 wins over the K-3 II


  • Sensor: K-70's sensor has PDAF, K-3 II doesn't
    • The sensor in K-70 has on sensor phase detect points, which dramatically improves live view Auto-focus. This will help in video & cases where using live view makes more sense than OVF. A first for Pentax.
    • Having said that, the AF performance of K-70 in live view isn't different than that of K-S2 (which isn't that bad for a non hybrid AF system), this is because K-70 only uses those PDAF sensors in video mode. But this can be fixed in the future.

  • LCD Screen: fixed for K-3 II but the K-70's articulates fully.
    • This is a huge advantage for the K-70. With a fully articulating screen, it's easy to take pictures from any angle, high or low which also helps it in case of macros. It can also be flipped back to cover the screen for protection. But the hinge could turn out to be a weak point in durability.

The K-70's fully articulating screen makes taking shots from awkward angles very convenient.
Courtesy: Source- www.magezinepublishing.com

  • Live view Autofocus - Advantage K-70
    • As mentioned above the live view auto-focus for stills & movie is radically improved in the K-70 thanks to Hybrid AF, which eliminates hunting of auto-focus. 

Here is an early video, demonstrating the capabilities of the K-70's autofocus in live view

Courtesy: oosaka yaotomi

The K-70 can autofocus in video mode with a compatible lens (like HD DA 55-300 PLM WR RE), although this will be enabled in K-3 II with a firmware update.

  • WiFi: inbuilt for K-70, via Pentax O-FC1 FluCard
    • With the K-70, you don't need to spend anymore on having WiFi capability, whereas for K-3 II you have to separately buy the FluCard for ~80-100$. When using the FluCard this you limit one slot capacity to just 16GB.

  • Function buttons: Two for K-70 vs. a single for K-3 II
    • Having more function buttons makes it easy to change settings on the fly without the need for getting into menus, speeding things up. Having said that, the K-3 II has much more array of dedicated buttons overall for doing specific function (discussed later).
    • Functions that the Fx1/Fx2 buttons can be assigned in K-70:
      • One Push File Format
      • Wi-Fi
      • Outdoor View Setting
      • Night Vision LCD Display
      • Optical/Digital Preview
      • Electronic Level
      • Change AF Point/Area
    • Functions that the RAW/Fx button can be assigned in K-3 II:
      • One Push File Format
      • Exposure Bracketing
      • Optical Preview
      • Digital Preview
      • Shake Reduction
      • LCD Panel Illumination
I think the Fx1/Fx2's functionality in K-70 could have been increased by allowing more assignable functions, especially considering that (compared to K-3 II) K-70 has fewer dedicated buttons. But still the inclusion of AF Point/Area is a huge savior.

  • Flash: K-70 has an in built flash, K-3 II doesn't
    • The K-70 sports an on-board flash but it cannot act as wireless commander for external flashes. For the K-3 II an on board flash is sacrificed to make space for the O-GPS unit.

  • ISO range: a stop higher for K-70 than K-3 II
    • The K-70 goes from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, while the K-3 II goes up to just 51200.

  • Control Panel: Customizable in K-70, not in K-3 II
    • A much needed feature in K-70 considering scarcity of dedicated buttons.

  • LCD Display Adjustment: extra features for K-70
    • K-70 supports Outdoor view setting for bright outdoor settings and night vision LCD display for night photography.

  • Auto mode: More customization for K-70
    • The K-70 has an AUTO mode which automatically chooses from many capture mode presets (standard + 8 scene modes), you can also select the scene modes as per your need.
    • K-3 II has just one green mode in which the camera chooses the best mode for you.

  • K-70's drive mode has a special Star Stream movie mode, K-3 II doesn't
    • Still both K-3 II and K-70 have interval movie shooting, but K-3's movie interval goes from 2 sec to 1 hr vs. 2 sec to 24 hrs of K-70

Here's a demonstration of the star stream movie

Courtesy: pentaxplus

and the K-70's 4K movie mode

Courtesy: pentaxplus


  • Bulb Mode: K-70 now has timed bulb mode
    • With K-70 we can set the time duration for which the shutter will be exposed ranging from 10 sec to 20 minutes, this isn't present in the K-3 II.

  • Flat Profile - K-70 has it, K-3 II doesn't
    • Flat profile is present in custom image for stills and videos in K-70, but not in K-3 II. Flat profile gives you more flexibility in post-production for managing video dynamic range and blown up highlights.

  • In the K-70, you can store 16 items in mode memory vs. 12 for K-3 II


  • K-70 supports Clarity control and Skin Tone correction
    • These help enhance the subject's surface texture & facial skin tone respectively. K-3 II doesn't include these features.

  • K-70 has in-built stereo microphone vs. mono for K-3 II
    • But if you are serious about recording sounds always use an external microphone, and both support them.

  • Pentax K-70 supports up to 16x display magnification in live view, vs. 10x of K-3 II

  • Weight: K-70 is around 100 grams lighter than K-3 II
    • The K-70 weights approx. 688g (battery + SD Card), while the K-3 II weights approx. 785g (battery + 1x SD Card).
    • Even with the lighter weight than K-3 II, the K-70 is on the heavier side compared to its competition. This can be advantage when using heavier lenses since a heavier lens balances better with a heavier body.
    • On the other hand, lighter bodies (with lighter lenses) are easy to carry around for longer duration.

  • Video: K-70 has the edge
    • With an articulating screen for comfortable viewing, and a better Live View Autofocus with Hybrid AF, the K-70 makes shooting videos that much convenient and smooth. And although it lacks headphones, it's still the best that Pentax has to offer to its users in the field of video.

  • Dimensions: K-70 is slimmer 
    • with approx. 125.5mm (W) x93.0mm (H) x 74.0mm (D) compared to K-3 II which is approx. 131.5mm (W) x102.5mm (H) x 77.5mm (D), the K-70 is much smaller than K-3 II. This makes the K-70 storing and carrying around easier.

  • 2. Areas where the K-3 II beats the K-70

  • Dedicated Buttons: Real game-changer for K-3 II
Camera companies generally differentiate between their flagship/high-end models from lower end models by adding more dedicated buttons to their high-end models, and the K-3 II is no different.
With more dedicated buttons, frequently used settings don't need you to go to the menu, making settings change on the go which frees the photographer to invest more time taking the photo than changing settings.
It also is extremely useful in photography involving high speed action e.g. sports & wildlife, where you (in most cases) won't get the time to change settings.

The K-3 II has ample buttons all over it, allowing you to change most of camera settings without accessing the menu system. This makes your whole photo capturing workflow very easy and fast, and is a necessity when shooting sports and wildlife photography.
Courtesy: Source- commons.wikimedia.org Author- Joergens.mi

    • Dedicated Buttons K-3 II vs. K-70:
      • Video/Stills switch: In K-3 II there is a dedicated switch to jump between still pictures and movie. In case of K-70 it is video mode (which is a bit controversial since by mistake you could easily switch into video).
      • AF and AE-L buttons: K-3 II has separate AF & AE button, K-70 does both using single button.
      • In the K-3 II the auto exposure lock & back button auto focus lock is decoupled by using 2 separate buttons, whereas in case of K-70 both functions are assigned to the AF/AE-L button.
      • Preview switch: On the K-3 II the 3rd mode on the main switch (on/off) is dedicated for preview (Optical/Digital).
      • AF mode button: The K-3 II has dedicated auto-focus mode button used to switch between AF modes (AF-A, AF-C, AF-S) using one command dial and the focusing area (Auto, zone, select, expanded AF) using the other dial. In K-70 this accessed using the control panel or the menu.
      • AF point change button: The K-3 II has a dedicated button for switching into AF point change mode where the four way controller is used to change the AF point. In K-70 you have to hold the OK button long enough to switch into AF point change mode or assign an Fx button to AF point change.
      • ISO button: K-3 II has dedicated ISO button which makes changing exposure settings that much easy and fast. In K-70 this is done using button on the 4-way controller.
      • AE Metering button: K-3 has dedicated AE metering button, hold it down and use the command dial to switch between multi, center and spot. In K-70 this is accessed using the control panel or menu.

  • Construction: K-3 II can take a lot of beating
    • The K-3 II has a stainless-steel alloy frame and lightweight magnesium-steel alloy body, whereas the K-70 also has a metal chassis but a polycarbonate body.

PENTAX K-3 II "Environment-resistant performance"

Courtesy: pentaxplus

  • Auto-focus: K-3 II wins hands down with 27 AF points vs. 11 for K-70
    • The K-3 II uses the much sophisticated 27 point SAFOX-11 AF system with central 25 points being cross type with more coverage and better tracking capabilities, while the K-70 uses the 11 point SAFOX-10 system with 9 cross type AF points.
    • In Auto-focus-A (auto switch from AF-S to AF-C) - K-3 II has option of selecting 8(small), 24 (medium) & 26 (large) backup (or fallback) peripheral points around selected AF point, K-70 has single setting of 8 backup points.
    • K-3 II has 9 point zone select AF which is unavailable in the K-70.

  • Continuous shooting: K-3 II 8.3 fps vs. 6 fps for K-70
    • The higher burst speed of K-3 II is complemented with a deeper buffer shooting 23 RAW or 60 JPEGs before slowing down; compare this to K-70's 10 RAW or 40 JPEGs.
PENTAX K-3 II "High-speed continuous shooting at 8.3 images per second"

Courtesy: pentaxplus

  • Shutter: K-3 II has a much superior shutter mechanism than K-70
    • The K-3 II's shutter gives a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, compared to 1/6000th of K-70, which probably uses the same shutter from K-S2.
    • If that's true, K-3 II's shutter will produce much lesser noise compared to the one in K-70 for shooting in silent environments or when you don't want to disturb surrounding people, or animals in wildlife.
    • For those concerned about shutter life, they'll feel more secure with the K-3 II which claims a shutter life double that of K-3's 200,000 actuations. On the other hand the K-70's shutter might claim much lesser 100,000 actuations (assuming same shutter mechanism from K-50).

  • ISO increase sensitivity:
    • In K-3 II, you have to option to change how conservative or liberal the increase in ISO will be in case of Auto-ISO. K-70 doesn't have this feature.


  • Program Line: K-3 II has multiple P-Line options vs single for K-70
    • Program lines are used to traverse through multiple combinations of Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO, for the same exposure value. In K-3 II you have the choice of multiple Program lines with priority on different exposure parameters:
      • Auto - Automatically determines best P-Line to choose
      • Normal - Standard P-line.
      • High Speed Priority - Will try to maintain higher Shutter Speed as possible.
      • DOF Priority (deep) - Will try to maintain deeper DOF (macro).
      • DOF Priority (shallow) - Will try to maintain shallow DOF (Portrait).
      • MTD Priority - Will try to maintain the aperture where the particular lens performs the sharpest.
    • In K-70, you only have the "Normal" P-Line to work with, although in Scene modes the camera automatically switches between various P-Lines, you have very restricted choice to change exposure parameters in this mode.


  • Dust Removal: More effective DR II in K-3 II vs. original DR in K-70
    • Image sensor cleaning in K-3 II is done with the "DR II" mechanism with ultrasonic vibrations of piezo element + Dust Alert function is also present. In K-70 it uses the sensor's shake reduction mechanism and is lesser efficient than the former.

  • Battery life: K-3 II beats K-70 with higher capacity
    • The K-3 II can shoot 720 images with the 1860 mAh D-LI90 battery vs. 480 for K-70 with the 1200 mAh D-Li109 (410 with in-built flash)

  • Battery Grip: 
    • K-3 II is compatible with Pentax Battery Grip D-BG5, while K-70 has no battery grip interface
    • A battery grip makes shooting portraits convenient, while augmenting battery life and memory; plus you get extra/duplicated dials and buttons.

  • USB interface: USB 3 for K-3 II vs. USB 2 for K-70
    • With USB 3 you can transfer files faster; also better for USB tethering.

  • Cable Switch Terminal: 
    • K-3 II has a dedicated cable switch terminal and is compatible with older and current cable switches. The K-70's cable switch terminal is compatible only with the newer CS-310, and it also works as stereo mic input.

  • Flash Synchronization: K-3 II has X-Sync port, K-70 doesn't
    • The X-Sync output is used for wired flash triggering.

  • GPS & compass: GPS and compass are in built in the K-3 II, not in K-70
    • GPS - useful for easily geo-tagging your pictures & managing them better.
    • AstroTracer feature - helps in eliminating star trails in long exposure night photography.
    • K-70 can enable this functionality with the O-GPS1 unit, purchased separately.

Here's a video showing how the K-3 II's AstroTracer function works, using the inbuilt GPS.

Courtesy: pentaxplus

  • Top LCD: K-3 II has it, K-70 doesn't
    • With the top LCD you can get pretty much all information you need like exposure values, flash mode, drive mode, battery, card memory left etc. so you don't need to go to the back display. Also this saves battery life since you don't need to keep the power hungry back display switched on and has better visibility in daylight.

  • Card Slots: two for K-3 II, one for K-70
    • Dual card slots can be used to mirror data to two cards. In case of a memory card failure, with dual cards and mirrored data, you don't lose those precious moments, making you (& Tony Northrup :-)) secure. And obviously, with an extra slot you can have more total storage capacity in your camera to carry with.

  • Composition Adjustment: K-3 II supports K-70 doesn't
    • If there is one company who knows how to best use the sensor shift technology, it is Pentax. With composition adjustment (which basically involves shifting/rotating the sensor) you can create a larger image file than sensor allows by stitching multiple images. You can also make the sensor work as a tilt shift lens (perspective control) with it's sensor rotation setting !

  • K-3 II has larger back LCD screen
    • K-3 II's back LCD screen is 3.2" with 1037K dots vs. K-70's 3" with 921K dots.

  • Metering - K-3 II has the edge
    • K-3 II uses the superior 86K pixel RGB sensor which collects RGB color data along with luminance data, the K-70 has 77 segment multi-pattern metering sensor collecting only luminance data.
    • The K-3 I's metering range goes from -3 to 20 EV whereas K-70's goes from 0 to 22 EV.

  • Auto Screen Rotation: Easy portrait mode for K-3 II
    • When the camera is held vertically in portrait mode, the screen items are rearranged accordingly. This, and the battery grip, both facilitate shooting in portrait mode. Not present in K-70.

  • Processor: 
    • The K-3 II incorporates a better PRIME III processor vs the PRIME M II found in the K-70.

  • Mode dial lock: Present in K-3 II, not in K-70
    • Mode dial lock can be used to avoid accidental switching of modes in the dial, where you need to press this lock button to switch between modes. You can disable this and make its rotation free using the mode dial lock release lever.

  • White Balance - Advantage K-3 II
    • The K-3 II uses the light source detection sensor along with the image sensor to calculate more accurate white balance; K-70 uses only the image sensor.

  • Headphone jack: K-3 II has it, K-70 doesn't
    • Makes sound monitoring easy for videographers by isolating any surrounding disturbances.

  • K-3 II has 26 custom functions vs. 24 of K-70

  • Handling:
    • K-3 II is around 100+ grams heavier than K-70, with this it will balance better with heavier lenses - a common occurrence in sports and wildlife photography.
    • K-3 II being chunkier will (along with the curve & shape of the grip) contribute to a better grip over the body, giving a firm hold of the body; this is helpful when using long heavier lenses, handheld.

  • 3. Areas where the K-70 (surprisingly) equals the K-3 II

  • User modes: Both have 3 custom user modes on their mode dial
    • This is a first for the K-X0 series, and provides more customization capabilities which can be switched with the turn of a dial.! It's a common feature for K-3 series, but K-70 improves upon it by providing preset default settings on each user mode, namely CLEAR TONE, HDR LANDSCAPE & ASTROPHOTO.
Top view of the Pentax K-70. Notice that the mode dial now has 3 user modes - U1, U2 & U3; also the Wi-Fi button is now a customizable function button.
  • Shake Reduction:
    • The K-70 provides 4.5 stops of image stabilization, again a first for this series but which is already present in the K-3 II. This will make taking blur free, handheld shots at lower shutter speeds much easier, and also help one limit camera shake at higher focal lengths.

  • Pixel Shift Resolution:
    • Now this is a real surprise. A feature found in flagship models (K-3 II & K-1) makes its way to K-70. Pixel shift overcomes the inherent shortcoming of Bayer sensor by using sensor shift technology to vibrate the sensor at pixel level making each pixel in RAW file get color information from all neighboring 3 pixels along with the original pixel. The result is each pixel now has full color information. This visibly increases sharpness, noise performance and dynamic range; but needs the camera & subject both to be stable.

This video shows the working of pixel shift technology

Courtesy: pentaxplus

  • 4. Conclusion - Which one is the best for me?

With prices so near, one can't help but think which one to get. The K-3 II being the current flagship APS-C camera will obviously have more high-end features than K-70 to justify its higher price. But the K-70 in itself has many surprises which its high end counterpart lacks, like the tilt screen, in built wi-fi and hybrid AF.

If you see both of them closely, you'll notice that most of K-3 II's features are geared towards getting photos involving fast paced action e.g. sports or wildlife/bird photography. Here the higher burst rate, deeper buffer along with more AF points, increase your chances of a successful and satisfying shot of a fast moving subject. Complement this with an array of dedicated buttons which allows you changing most common settings without getting into the menu.

On the other hand the K-70 with its fully articulating screen, Wi-Fi, outdoor and night shooting modes, clearly makes photography involving still subjects much easier, where you have the time and convenience to adjust your composition & angle, and access the menu for other adjustments. For example the tilting screen and outdoor/night modes are serious advantages for whoever is interested in landscape and astrophotography. A tilting screen also makes macro photography that much easier.

Also one mustn't forget that the K-70 with its flippy screen & fast Hybrid Live view Autofocus, is currently the best option for video among all Pentax cameras.

In the end I'd say the K-3 II is designed for someone who will use his/her viewfinder more often than live view, since that's what makes more sense for fast paced photography, while the K-70 is made for someone who will use his live view more often, to get the perfect composition while still being comfortable (articulating screen, fast Hybrid live view AF, screen modes).

Hope this article helps you decide which one's for you among the two.


Click here to buy the Pentax K-70



Click here to buy the Pentax K-3 II


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