K3 with O-GPS1 v K3II
I've just come back from an extended 10 night Rhine River cruise which has been the first chance I've had to field test the relative performance of my K3 with a geo tagger fitted and the K3II with its integral system.
Firstly, battery consumption by the K3 was marginally worse than the K3II. The former had a Pentax battery as first choice and the latter an unbranded version. Both cameras operated for the same period of time each day, though the completed shot count was a tad over 3:1 in favour of the K3. I used 6 AAA batteries in the O-GPS in the same period.
Ability to get a 3 satellite fix to fully geo tag the image was won hands down by the K3II. It was able to get our location pretty well every time I shot from just inside our middle deck cabin (O-GPS usually failed) and in narrow streets or moving trains or coaches, it too was better able to get a fix as to our position.
I needed fill in flash only a few times, so the K3II's lack of this option wasn't a practical issue for me, especially since I'd paired it with either my DA*50-135 or DA*60-250. Low light performance of both bodies seemed pretty similar.
I'd been a bit disappointed to find that there was no option to use the external tagger on the K3II rather than the integral unit as I'd been firmly of the impression that internal systems eat up battery life. Well, that doesn't appear to be the case with the Pentax K3II on the evidence I've observed in this field test. So its a big for the K3II
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Battery life would be a guess, but possibly it all operates at a lower wattage (voltage and/or current) as it doesn’t have to worry about clean/dirty external connectors, associated static protection, etc, etc.
A lot depends on how far you have moved between satellite fixes. But I'd expect the II to have a much bigger (wider) antenna, possibly even more in number, hence less likely to get blocked. To get a fix you need at a minimum 3 birds, preferably 4 (for altitude) so quite a wide angle of view is necessary typically. But it could just be that it uses the camera's more plentiful RAM and/or more powerful CPU to apply more data or/and processing power to the ephemeral data calculation to get a better handle on where the satellites might be when you switch on. The camera is never fully powered off - unless the batteries are flat (change the SD card with camera off and it's led lights) so simply keeping where they last were / how long ago can help immensely.
BTW, wet leafy forests are an even tougher test.
Still think both GPS and flash could have been fitted with only a marginal increase in body size ... Suspect removing flash has other benefits in terms of circuit component placement, by banishing those high voltages from inside the plastics case altogether.
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Not sure that the antenna size will be very much different or more numerous - but it would seem they are more sensitive in the II as I was carrying both cameras side by side, so the conditions to get a signal from 3 satellites were identical for both set ups at all times. Also noticed that the primary battery in the gripped K3II was 1400 mAh whereas the Pentax version used by the K3 was 1860 mAh
Not given the O-GPS much time in the wet forests but 3 examples from a damp, heavily wooded stretch on the path round Dove Lake in Tasmania all got good fixes. Probably get a better chance to test these condition next year when we go to Costa Rica for which the K3 team are lead contenders.
Been a while since I first posted on this. I had usually used the K3 with the short zooms and the K3II with my DA* 50-135 or 60-250. For our Mexico trip back in January, I reversed the roles such that when shooting through the window of the coach at the passing scenery, it was the K3II with the GPS enabled that was being used. Pretty well every shot came back geo-tagged. The external tagger doesn't work very well inside of a moving coach as the previous year's trip to Costa Rica demonstrated. Battery life was as good as first reported and under pressure with limited options to recharge, was also very good in the Kimberley Wildness of northern Australia in May.
Be good if we had a USB charger option - the 3rd party cigarette lighter version isn't very useful now most coaches and train have USB ports in the seats
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