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Pentax K-3 II

Ergonomics 
 9.8
Build Quality 
 10.0
User Interface 
 9.2
Autofocus 
 8.4
Features 
 9.8
Value 
 9.8
Image Quality 
 9.8
Noise 
 8.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 27,153 Mon October 10, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,032.60 9.50
Pentax K-3 II

Pentax K-3 II
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Pentax K-3 II
supersize
Pentax K-3 II
supersize
Pentax K-3 II
supersize
Pentax K-3 II
supersize
Pentax K-3 II
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Description:

The Pentax K-3 II was announced on April 22, 2015 as the new Pentax DSLR flagship model. It has most of its features common with the original K-3, hereunder serious weather sealing, an anti-alias filter-less 24MP CMOS sensor, a fast frame rate of 8.3 FPS, 27 AF points, a comprehensive set of AF modes, and a 3.2 inch monitor in the 3:2 aspect ratio.

With the Pentax K-3 II an innovative resolution enhancement system was introduced based on pixel shift of the sensor. When this feature is activated the K-3 II will take four images in short succession shifting the sensor 1 pixel between each shot so that complete color data is captured by each pixel. This increases resolution, improves color rendition and virtually eliminates the risk of moiré. This new technology is described further in this article

For situations where the pixel shift resolution system can't be used and moiré might be an issue, the K-3 II includes the anti-alias filter simulator originally introduced with the K-3. The effect of an AA filter is simulated through micro-movements of the sensor using the shake reduction (SR) mechanism. For subjects with very fine detail in repeating patterns where one runs the risk of false color patterns (moiré) the filter should be turned on. For landscape photography the filter could be turned off and the images would benefit from increased resolution. As opposed to a fixed (physical) anti-alias filter the photographer decides whether or not to use it and the strength can be adjusted. There even is an AA bracketing function.

The K-3 II has a couple of additional upgrades over the K-3:

  • Upgraded in-body shake reduction mechanism now good for 4.5 shutter steps compensation. The enhanced SR is also capable of handling panning
  • Built-in GPS and astrotracer functionality, which compensates for the movement of the stars when shooting at night. Achieving the astrotracer functionality required an external accessory with the K-3. The GPS also allows for position and shooting date/time to be recorded in the EXIF data of the images
  • Built-in electronic compass. This allows for recording of shooting direction in the EXIF data.

There is a downgrade as well, the K-3 II has no built-in flash.

Key features inherited unchanged from the K-3 are:

  • Tethering is supported via the optional the FLU Card, which is an SD card with built in WiFi. With this card in the camera one can control the camera remotely from a PC, tablet or smart phone. Remote live view is also provided
  • The light meter uses an 86,000 pixel RGB sensor. The metering sensitivity goes down to -3 EV thus matching the impressive -3 EV lowest sensitivity of the autofocus system
  • Two SD card slots that can be employed in various ways, hereunder setting one slot up for backing up the images, or JPG can be recorded to one card and RAW to the other
  • The movie format is the widely used MPEG-4 AVC/H.264(MOV) format
  • A body that is constructed of magnesium alloy on top of a steel chassis and is weather sealed and cold proof to -10C/14F. The body is slightly larger than the K-3, but the BG5 battery grip is shared with the K-3. The grip takes either a rechargeable D-LI90 Li-Ion battery or 6 AA batteries
  • Numerous dedicated buttons so that many settings can be changed without having to go into the menu.

We invite you to read our in-depth review of the Pentax K-3II for further information and hands-on experience.

Camera Manual:

 


Pentax K-3 II
Year Introduced
2015
In Production
Yes
Current US Price
$846
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor
Sensor Format
APS-C
Sensor Type
CMOS
Megapixels
24.35
Resolution
4000 x 6016 pixels
AA Filter
No (AA filter simulator)
Super Resolution
Yes
Bit Depth
14
Minimum ISO
100
Maximum ISO
51200
ISO Range
100 - 51,200
Imaging
Exposure Modes
Green, HyP, Sv, Av, Tv, TAv, HyM, X, B, User(3)
Program Modes
Auto, Normal, Action, Depth of field (deep/shallow), MTF
Maximum FPS
8.3
Continuous Shooting
Hi: 8.3 fps up to approx. 60 frames (JPG), up to approx. 23 frames (RAW), M: 4.5 fps up to approx 100 frames (JPG), 32 frames (RAW), Lo: 3 fps uup to approx. 200 frames (JPG), up to appox. 52 frames (RAW)
Shutter Speeds (Auto)
30s - 1/8000s (stepless)
Shutter Speeds (Manual)
B, 30s - 1/8000s. Up to 300s in Astrotracer mode
Shutter Life
200000
Exposure compensation
+/-5 EV (+/-2 EV in movie mode)
Auto bracketing
2, 3 or 5 frames, one-push bracketing
Expanded dynamic range
Highlight (auto, on, off), Shadow (auto, high, medium, low, off)
Exposure lock
Yes
Self timer
2 s with mirror lock-up, 12 s
Metering Sensor
86K Pixel
Meter range
-3 to 20 EV
Meter pattern
Multi-Segment,Center Weighted,Spot
Mirror lock-up
Yes
Interval shooting
Up to 2000 frames, 2 sec to 24 hours interval
HDR mode
Yes
Multiple exposures
Yes, average, additive and bright, 2 to 2000 shots
Pixel mapping
Yes
Scene Modes
None
Restrictions
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M (with stop-down metering)
Lens Mount
Mount
KAF2 (no aperture coupler)
Composition Adjustment
Yes
Stabilization
Yes (sensor-shift SR)
Power zoom
Supported (zoom only)
Supported Lenses
All Pentax K-mount lenses. Support for lenses with the KAF4 mount variant requires a firmware update. Manual focus only with K-, M-, and A-series lenses. Stop down metering only with K- and M-series lenses. M42, Pentax 645 and Pentax 6x7 lenses with the appropriate adapters (stop down metering and manual focus only).
Lens correction
Distortion,Lateral Chromatic Aberration,Vignetting,Diffraction
Focusing
Autofocus (viewfinder)
Yes (SAFOX 11, 27 focus points (25 cross type))
AF Points
27
Autofocus sensitivity
-3 EV
Front/back focus correction
Yes (adjustment for up to 20 lenses)
Autofocus with SDM
Yes
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
Viewfinder/LCD
Viewfinder
0.95x, 100%
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism
Diopter adjustment
-2.5 to +1.5
AF Points in viewfinder
Yes
Exchangeable screen
Yes
Depth of field preview
Yes
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnificaion)
Live View
Yes
Top LCD
Yes
Focus Peaking
Yes
Back LCD
3.2 in., 1,037,000 dots, 3:2 aspect ratio
Body
Weather resistant
Yes
Control wheels
2
Battery grip
D-BG5 (takes D-LI90 or 6x AA)
Card slots
2
Dust removal
Yes, Ultrasonic DR II
Dust alert
Yes
Memory card type
SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I Compatible), Eye-Fi, Flucard
Size (W x H x D)
131.5 x 102.5 x 77.5 mm
Weight
700 g (785 g with battery and SD card)
File format
PEF (RAW),DNG (RAW),JPG,MOV
Battery life
720 images Video playback time: 370 minutes
Battery
D-LI90 lithium-ion rechargeable
Flash
Built-in flash
No
Sync speed
1/180s
P-TTL flash
Yes
Flash functions
Auto discharge*, On (leading curtain sync)*, Redeye reduction*, Slow-speed sync*, Trailing curtain sync*, High-speed sync*, Manual*, Wireless**, Contrast control**
* Requires an external flash
** Requires two (or more) external flashes
TTL flash
No
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Video
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p fps,
1280x720 (16:9) at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p fps,
MPEG4 AVC/H.264,
Interval Movie (4K, Full HD, HD)
Exposure Modes
P, Av, TAv, Tv, M
Movie mode restrictions
AF During Recording
On-Demand
Sound in Movie mode
Stereo (external mic), Mono (built-in mic). Adjustable sound level
Interfacing
GPS
Built-In
Tethering
Via O-FC1 FLUcard
Connectivity
USB 3, HDMI out, stereo mic, headphones, DC in, X-sync, cable release
Latest Firmware
Link to Download Page
Notes
Astrotracer functionality with the built in GPS, Electronic level, Embed copyright information in EXIF, GPS and electronic compass, High ISO NR, can be customized for each major ISO value, Image plane indicator, In-camera RAW development, Moiré suppression via SR mechanism, Moiré suppresion bracketing, Save last JPG as RAW, Save JPG from movie, The RAW button is customizable and can perform a variety of functions, hereunder exposure bracketing.
Special Editions

Black, Limited Silver


Megapixels: 24
ISO Range: 100 - 51200
Weight: 785 g (loaded)
FPS: 8.3
LCD: 3.2", 1037000 dots
In Production: Buy the Pentax K-3 II
Type: Advanced DSLR
Weather Sealed: Yes
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax K-3 II in-depth review!



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Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-6 of 6
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 162
Review Date: October 10, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $730.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: solid and reliable, good performance
Cons:
Years Owned: 6 months    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I use this camera most often with the 15, 40 and 70 limited lenses, but I have other as well. I've used this camera for street shots, landscapes, concerts, news, indoor sports, regular holiday photos, macro, a few astrophoto attempts... works well for a lot of things! Paired with a light lens, it's comfortable to hold and literally run around with The interface is well thought and the body has enough physical cues to let you learn where all buttons are without looking. It performs predictably and reliably (accurate af and exposure, good dynamic range, large raw buffer, etc). It has lots of useful features and they've been covered extensively by others, so I'll just say that they work well.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Zagreb
Posts: 73
Review Date: July 21, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, WR, Tons of features, customizabile
Cons: Video quality, heavy
Years Owned: 2    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

The the best Pentax APS-C DSLR on the market (at the time of writing). Pentax crammed all the features you could want from a prosumer DSLR and them some, making it the best bang for buck out there for an enthusiast/pro photographer. I'm gonna skip on specs as you can find that anywhere, and just describe my experience with it:
The AF works in complete darkness, it's fast and accurate. Tracking moving subjects works well, but for pro sports/wildlife photography you may want to looks elsewhere. The lack of built in flash is important only for amateur flash photographers, as the rest use an external flash anyway. The camera is built like a tank, and can take a beating, and the Weather resistance is excellent, as expected.
I had a Pentax K-500 before and I dreamed of a D810. Since getting the K-3 II, learning to use it effectively and getting some good glass for it, I no longer want or need a Full frame DSLR's. The results I can achieve with this are 99.999% the same as any Full Frame DSLR, for a fraction of the cost and weight/size. Enough said.

People looking for high quality video from their DSLR should look elsewhere, though. Despite it's pro features such as a mic/headphone jack, this is not a video camera by any stretch. Low bitrate, aliasing and no IBIS during video pretty much destroy any video capability it could have had. Also, the body is surprisingly heavy for such a small camera, but if using Pentax limited primes it's still a quite light setup overall.

Here are a few shots I've taken with the K-3 II:







For more examples, check out my Flickr Page
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 1,201
Review Date: October 1, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: GPS, no flash, pixel shift, image quality, image stabilization, handling,
Cons: No flash, menus are too croweded

I'm pretty pleased with this camera. It's only con is that it lacks a flash. That is also, truly, a pro.

If you've used any of the recent K-series prosumer bodies, you're already familiar with how this camera works, handles, and interfaces with the user. What this body has that others lack is the on-board GPS and the pixel shift function.

Pixel shift is an interesting function. It's for only some circumstances: motionless camera, motionless subject, and steady lighting. I thought that would make pixel shift ideal for architecture. It has worked well for interiors but poorly for exteriors. Building movement and heat-related air density changes are enough to cause a zipper-like pixel shift alignment error effect.

Here are some sample images:







Pixel-shift sample

   
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2015
Posts: 47
Review Date: September 29, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Much improved AF over K5II and earlier
Cons: high ISO perfomance worse than K5II
Years Owned: 3 months    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 9    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

The good:
AF is considerably improved over K5II and earlier cameras (can't compare to K3). None of my lenses need any micro adjustment, they all focus spot on. It also seems to track face in viewfinder when using continuous AF, subject tracking is also way better than K5II.

Someone said AF in Canon 7D MkII was better - for 650 USD more I'd expect it to be much better.


Metering seems better as well, I don't need to adjust exposure in Lightroom as much as I had to with K5II.

Improved ergonomics, especially placement of back AF button, right where you need it under the thumb.
Menus - I find them easy to use and navigate. Tried friend's Canon 5D III and couldn't figure it out so easily.

USB3.0 makes transferring files much faster than before.

Less good:
ISO over 1600 worse than K5II at 100% magnification, but at print size still very good.


Overall it's a step forward from K5II.

Mine was within affected serial numbers when it comes to power off issue but got resolved in 7 days by Ricoh UK service centre.

I'm very happy with it.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2015
Location: Iasi
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 27, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $1,143.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: built quality, ergonomics, innovative features, battery life, price tag,
Cons: focusing system, clumsy menus, no built-in flash
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 7    Autofocus: 5    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I have a history of film cameras, and after switching to digital, I went through Nikon D7000, Canon 5D mk II and Canon 7D mk II.
I miss the simplicity of film cameras. I moved to Pentax hoping to find that.

I also miss the amazing focusing speed and focus area coverage of the Canon 7D mk II. more of that below.

I have yet to discover the usefulness of the GPS as opposed to a built-in (fill) flash.

The menus are nothing short of boring, and that could have been saved with a custom My Menu feature where you could save your most used few sub-menus, instead of trying to guess their position on the Info screen, let alone browsing thru all menus for the same result.

Focus points are all cluttered in the middle of the frame and quite slow in real time action. I'm sort of used to that from the 5D2, where using the centre point became almost natural. Using one of the wheels to select a focus point would have been much more efficient, but I understand the reason of not putting that in.

I have used the camera with the Sigma 18-35/1.8 and the Pentax HD 70/2.4. I was expecting more from the Sigma and less from the Pentax lens. It was the other way around. I was not very impressed with the Sigma, but I was blown away by the Pentax, despite its noisy and lazy focus. Sigma is way below slow and lazy anyway. Perhaps a firmware update will fix that at some point...

High ISOs are not impressive, even in DNG post-processing, but that's not unusual for APSCs. Still, the K3-II does a much better job at that than its Canon brother, 7D2.

I've mentioned good ergonomics, but I'm only referring to the compact camera style multi function directional buttons down to the not-quite-under-the-thumb position. OK, the ISO, EV compensation, AF and AE buttons are also in good spots, but that's about it. And their grip versions are a different story.

I actually have no complaints with using both hands for viewing or deleting pictures, Nikon has the same thing and it's fine, even if Canon managed to put everything on the thumb side of the camera (7D2). Using the camera for everything with one hand only is exhausting, especially with grip on and a massive lens mounted. I don't check every picture I take, but when I do, I'm happy to give my right hand some rest.

Battery life is impressive. I ran well over 2000 DNGs on two batteries (one in the body, one in the grip, with the grip one first on cue).

I never use the original strap, I always use a slingshot, and the K3-II with grip has a weird balance compared to the Canons, which always hang straight, with the lens in the desired direction. The K3-II tend to turn with the lens inward, a bearable thing with the 70/2.4 attached, not so cool with the huge Sigma on, which will always hit the hip while walking. No running.

I'll come back with some links to original DNGs from a recent trip to Danube Delta to see for yourself.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 2,477

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 5, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $990.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything Good on K-3, GPS, Pixel Shift High Resolution, Better low light focus, faster focus
Cons: No built in flash
Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

This is a minor but welcome update of the outstanding K-3 which has been the top of the line Pentax DSLR for almost two years. Although a few people had some trouble with GPS locking up and the camera not turning off, it seems that most of us have had trouble free cameras. For my use, which is mainly outdoors, hiking and exploring the canyons and mountains of he southwest, the addition of in camera GPS is a big improvement. I have used the OGPS-1 since it came out but have always found it somewhat inconvenient to use since I sometimes forget to bring it and when it is on the camera there is no flash possible without kludgy workarounds. Now we can have full time GPS (including track logging) and still attach a flash when necessary. Astrophotographers will also benefit from the built in astro tracker functions. I have never tried this but may try some star photos on my next overnight in the desert. I have only experimented briefly with the Pixel Shift feature but it works smoothly and quite quickly. I tried several hand held shots which were at best not as good as other handheld photos taken without pixel shift and most of the time suffered from severe blurring. But that is what the manual says so there is no surprise. I do not use a tripod often but I plan to try this feature out with a tripod more frequently soon. The photos I took with Pixel Shift and a tripod were sharp but I am not yet convinced that it is worth the extra hassle for my type of photos. Tracking does seem to have improved a bit for me. I have managed a higher percentage of successful BIFs with this camera than I have gotten form my K-3. That is subjective but I am convinced. I include a duck BIF for illustration (K-3ii DA*50-135). It is one of a half dozen keepers from about 9 shots taken in a burst. SOOC crop only.

I have given the camera a high rating because, for me, it is as good as the original K-3 which I have been using since it was introduced and includes several nice improvements.
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