The moment that many passionate Pentaxians have been waiting for is finally here: Pentax has officially announced the 24-megapixel Pentax K-3, a flagship APS-C DSLR that's slated to replace the K-5 II/IIs. Being an advanced camera, the K-3 is primarily targeted at enthusiasts and professionals, and it will likely satisfy even the most demanding photographers. The new PRIME III processor ensures the camera will deliver the speed that photographers need and expect from a camera of this caliber.
In this article we'll be telling you all about the K-3, including its specifications, highlights, and key features. We have had a chance to try out a pre-production K-3 hands-on, so some of our commentary will relate to how the camera handles in real life. This article is the first in a series of posts about the camera, as we will be following up this post with a hands-on Q&A, and shortly after that you can expect to see our in-depth review of this exciting camera.
While the K-3 may appear very similar to the K-5 on the outside, its hardware has seen a complete overhaul to the point that virtually all of its specifications are improved over those of its predecessor. Pentax is finally ditching the 16-megapixel sensor that they used in eight consecutive camera models, and the company has equipped the K-3 with an all-new 27-point autofocus system, making it their first DSLR to feature more than 11 autofocus points. Pentaxians will also be thrilled to hear that the K-3 has dual SD card slots, a best-in-class burst mode, and wireless tethering capabilities.
In fact, on paper, the K-3 looks like it will be one of the most capable APS-C DSLRs on the market. Launching at a price tag of just $1299, it will start shipping in early November. There will also be a special silver edition of the K-3 for $300 more (with grip). Let's start by taking a quick look at the key specifications of the K-3:
Pentax K-3 Specifications
|Sensor||24-megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor
6016 x 4000px max. recorded resolution
24.71 megapixels total
23.5 x 15.6mm physical size
|AA Filter||No hardware anti-aliasing filter
Simulated AA filter/moire suppression via SR mechanism (user-configurable)
|ISO Range||100 - 51200|
27-point TTL phase detection autofocus (25 cross-type points in a 5x5 grid)
86k-pixel RGB sensor with -3 to +18 EV sensitivity
New feature: multi-pattern white balance
|Continuous Shooting||Continuous H: 8.3 FPS (up to 60 JPG / 23 RAW)
Continuous M: 4.5 FPS (up to 100 JPG / 32 RAW)
Continuous L: 3 FPS (up to 200 JPG / 52 RAW)
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000s - 30s, Bulb|
|Viewfinder||Pentaprism optical viewfinder
100% coverage, 0.95x magnification
3.2" LCD with 1037k dots
Live view & video focus peaking support
1/180s sync speed
Full HD: 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p
25-minute maximum recording time
|Media Slots||Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots|
|Still File Formats||PEF and DNG RAW (14-bit), JPEG|
|Tethering||Full remote control and desktop transfer capabilities
via FLU wireless SD card technology
|Weight||800g (loaded and ready)|
|Battery||D-LI90 (up to 720 frames w/o flash, 560 w/ 50% flash)|
|Battery Grip||D-BG5 (6x AA or 1x D-LI90 support)
$199.95 US MSRP
Yes; 92 dust and moisture seals
|Connectivity||USB3, mic input, AV out, HDMI out, cable switch, x-sync socket, DC in, headphones|
|Dust Removal||Ultrasonic "DRII"|
|Processor||Single PRIME III|
|Stabilization||Body-based Shake Reduction|
While there's no denying that the K-3 plays catch-up with the Nikon D7100 (its closest competitor) in many areas, it does leap ahead in others: it has a best-in-class continuous framerate/buffer as well as the ability to record full-HD videos at 60 frames per second.
The K-3 also has a new 86k-pixel metering sensor, which is nothing short of professional grade. The D7100 can only record up to 50 JPEG files or 7 RAW files at maximum resolution before reducing its framerate, and its full-HD mode is limited to 30 FPS. Compare this to the K-3's 60 JPEG / 23 RAW buffer and 1080i 60FPS recording.
The sensor in the K-3 is likely to be the same Toshiba chip found in the Nikon D7100 and D5200, as all three sensors have a total resolution of 24.71 megapixels. Reviews of the latter two cameras have shown that the new 24-megapixel sensor is capable of outperforming the K-5/D7000's old 16-megapixel chip in terms of overall image quality, albeit to a small extent. (Update as of 10/10: we will be confirming the sensor manufacturer directly with Pentax in Japan. Remaining questions about the K-3 will be answered in an upcoming hands-on preview).
Already convinced? You can reserve your K-3 by pre-ordering at B&H Photo and pay when it ships.
Pentax K-3 with new D-BG5 battery grip and DA L 18-55mm WR lens
The K-3 also features some fresh innovation:
- It is the first camera to be able to simulate the effect of an antialiasing filter by vibrating the image sensor, thus reducing moire when activated
- It supports wireless tethering functionality via a dedicated FLU Wi-Fi SD card (discussed later)
- The new metering sensor enables multi-pattern white balance, which can apply different WB presets selectively
So far, this camera really looks like a big upgrade for any current Pentax user, and it will certainly hold its ground against the competition. But specifications aren't everything, so let us take a look at what changes have been made to the camera's buttons and ergonomics. Later on in this article we will also be examining the K-3's highlights more closely.
Pentax has just announced that they will be adding the 'WR' (Weather Resistant) epithet to the DA 55-300mm, one of the most popular lenses that Pentax currently has in its lineup. The HD DA 55-300mm WR is a variable aperture medium-to-super telephoto zoom lens that is designed specifically for Pentax's APS-C line of digital DSLRs (Pentax K-3, K-5/II/IIs, K-50, etc.).
Continue on after the break for the main features of the new HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR as reported directly from the Ricoh Imaging Company press release, as well as our initial synopsis what it all means.
Earlier this year, we held a contest that offered 5 copies of ArcSoft's noise reduction software. Because of the popularity of that contest, another was held here at Pentax Forums over the summer where a chosen five would have their pick of three different programs: Portrait+, Photo+, and Panorama Maker. We are honored to announce the five winners of that contest!
The theme for the official PentaxForums.com photo contest for October, 2013 will be "Astrophotography". We encourage you to be creative - the sky's the limit!
Submit your photo here for a chance to win B&H gift card prizes and more! Like for all previous contents, you may only submit a single photo, and it must be within the size & dimension limits stated in the contest announcement. And while we do allow non-Pentax photos on the forum, only photos taken with Pentax cameras will be eligible to participate in this contest. Good luck!
If you have trouble entering or need help, please read the contest announcement above, and then ask your question in the our site help forum.
Pentax (officially Ricoh Imaging) have just released a maintenance firmware release for the Pentax K-5 II/IIs that resolves an instability introduced in version 1.05. The previous firmware version was released some three weeks ago.
The latest firmware update, as always, is cumulative. This means that all features from versions 1.00 - 1.05 are included in 1.06 for those not yet running 1.05.
The Pentax K-5 II/IIs current have a $200 instant rebate and are available for $899 and $999, respectively. You may download the latest K-5 II/IIs firmware here or read on for installation instructions.
Pentax (officially Ricoh Imaging) have just released a feature-enhancing firmware update for the recently-launched Ricoh GR APS-C "serious compact" digital camera. For more information on the Ricoh GR, check out our in-depth comparative review.
The new GR firmware includes the following enhancements:
- Maximum shutter speed increased to 1/2500s (up from 1/2000s)
- You can now switch from playback mode to image capture mode by full depressing the shutter button
- A 47mm crop mode has been added (in addition to the existing 35mm crop mode)
- A new "maximum aperture priority" programmed shooting mode has been added
- New shutter button customization options added, including the ability to save settings by half-pressing the button
- You can now choose whether or not RAW files can be transferred over Eye-Fi
- Eye-fi transfer progress is now displayed in playback mode, when there is an active transfer
- A bug affecting folder numbering during Eye-fi transfer has been fixed
- The EXIF manufacturer name has been changed from "Pentax Ricoh Imaging" to "Ricoh Imaging"
- RAW image quality when using shadow correction has been improved
- While balance in Multi-P Auto mode has been improved
- In-camera noise reduction has been improved at ISO 1600 and 3200
- Eye-fi stability has been improved
- DNG ColorMatrix performance has been improved
- Various button combinations now function in a more logical manner
We're happy to announce that our latest In-Depth Accessory Review is now complete! In it, we take a comprehensive look at the Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod and determine if, once and for all, the quest for the ultimate three-legged travel companion has been found!
Adobe has replaced their regular version upgrades of Photoshop with a subscription based model called Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). Before this change, each version of Photoshop was available boxed and came with a lifetime license. Subsequent upgrades were in the $200 to $250 range.
Going forward, if one wants to continue to have access to the latest updates, an active subscription to Adobe CC is required.
The normal price for a Photoshop-only CC access is $19.99 per month, but we've recently stumbled accross a limited time offer that will allow you to lock in a monthly price of just $9.99 for life. The only catch is that you need to be a current Photoshop owner. If you are, then check out the deal here! As a bonus, the subscription also includes Adobe Lightroom (which isn't part of Creative Cloud). The offer expires at the end of the year (December 31st, 2013).
In order to make sure that this deal was real and not something "too good to be true", we decided to try it. Here is what we found out: