It has been over a year and a half since we've seen a new DSLR from Pentax- the K-5 and K-r both came out in the fall of 2010, and the K-r ended up being discontinued in late 2011, prior to the announcement of its successor.
While we all expected the next DSLR announcement from Pentax to be about the K-z (the K-r's successor), today Pentax Japan surprised us all by giving us an early look the Pentax K-3, a new full-frame addition to their DSLR lineup. Together with this camera, which will likely not start shipping until this fall, Pentax will also be re-releasing many of their FA-series full-frame lenses as D-FA lenses.
The key specifications of the Pentax K-3 are outlined below:
- Sensor: 24.0 Megapixel CMOS (36x24mm)
- ISO Range: 100-25,600 (50-102,400 expanded)
- Autofocus: 29-point SAFOX X w/light wavelength sensor
- Shutter: stepless, 30s-1/8000s rated for 200,000 actuations
- Framerate: 6FPS at maximum resolution
- Video: 1080p/720p recording at 60/30/25/24 FPS, VGA recording at 120/30FPS
- Image processor: Dual PRIME M
- Media: Single SDXC/SDHC/SD card
- Body Color: Graphite black
Note that these are tentative and based on initial reports; the official specifications have not yet been publicly published by Pentax.
The K-3 uses the same "crippled" KAF2 mount that's found on other Pentax DSLRs, meaning it's fully backwards-compatible with manual lenses, but needs to stop-down meter when one is mounted. Whenever DA (APS-C format) lenses are mounted, the camera will automatically switch to a 12-megapixel cropped sensor mode which only utilizes the APS-C image circle.
Professional photographers using the K-3 will be eligible for the PENTAX Professional Services program (PPS).
The K-3 features an iconic graphite finish, and borrows the thickened grip from the original K-5 limited silver. The price of this camera has yet to be announced, although the fact that it has components in common with the K-5 will likely put its price in the mid-$2000 range. We will post more details about this camera as they become available, and are very happy to see that Pentax Ricoh have finally stepped up their game!
Update: if you've gotten this far, we hope you realize this was an April Fool's joke and the K-3 is obviously not yet a reality. You can discuss current Pentax full-frame rumors in the rumors forum. Despite this, we do hope to have the pleasure of making this announcement for real at some point in the near future!