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Pentax K-3 II

Build Quality 
User Interface 
Image Quality 
Reviews Views Date of last review
18 79,672 Tue May 12, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $841.00 9.44
Pentax K-3 II

Pentax K-3 II
Pentax K-3 II
Pentax K-3 II
Pentax K-3 II
Pentax K-3 II
Pentax K-3 II


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.

Major features subsequently added through firmware updates:

  • Version 1.10: Support for lenses with KAF4 mount, i.e. lenses that have foregone the mechanical stop-down lever

Camera Manual:


Pentax K-3 II
©, sharable with attribution
Year Introduced
In Production
Current US Price
In-Depth Review
Click to Read
Sensor Format
Sensor Type
4000 x 6016 pixels
AA Filter
No (AA filter simulator)
Super Resolution
Bit Depth
Minimum ISO
Maximum ISO
ISO Range
100 - 51,200
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
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
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
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
Interval shooting
Up to 2000 frames, 2 sec to 24 hours interval
HDR mode
Multiple exposures
Yes, average, additive and bright, 2 to 2000 shots
Pixel mapping
Scene Modes
Exposure modes with M and K lenses are restricted to Av (with aperture always wide open) and M (with stop-down metering)
Lens Mount
KAF2 (no aperture coupler)
Composition Adjustment
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
Autofocus (viewfinder)
Yes (SAFOX 11, 27 focus points (25 cross type))
AF Points
Autofocus sensitivity
-3 EV
Front/back focus correction
Yes (adjustment for up to 20 lenses)
Autofocus with SDM
Autofocus assist
Dedicated LED
0.95x, 100%
Viewfinder type
Diopter adjustment
-2.5 to +1.5
AF Points in viewfinder
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Digital preview
Yes (with image magnificaion)
Live View
Focus Peaking
Back LCD
3.2 in., 1,037,000 dots, 3:2 aspect ratio
Weather resistant
Control wheels
Battery grip
D-BG5 (takes D-LI90 or 6x AA)
Card slots
Dust removal
Yes, Ultrasonic DR II
Dust alert
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
700 g (785 g with battery and SD card)
File format
Battery life
720 images Video playback time: 370 minutes
D-LI90 lithium-ion rechargeable
Built-in flash
Sync speed
P-TTL flash
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
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
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
Sound in Movie mode
Stereo (external mic), Mono (built-in mic). Adjustable sound level
Via O-FC1 FLUcard
USB 3, HDMI out, stereo mic, headphones, DC in, X-sync, cable release
Latest Firmware
Link to Download Page
User reviews
In-depth review
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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Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2020
Location: Cabo San Lucas
Posts: 21

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 12, 2020 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $846.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: overall built quality
Cons: no articulated screen
Years Owned: 3    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 10    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I bought this camera in 2017 and i really like it, first i was a Canon user, then Nikon, then Canon again, and after doing some research and looking for a more rugged, durable and quality camera i went with this camera, at first i thought i would regret the decision but i has not dissapointed me at all, yes it can have a pop-up flash, touch-screen, articulated screen and all of those features other cameras have, but in reality i don´t miss them, as for video quality well i don´t do much video with this camera only photography and that is what it does best, i have enjoyed using it near the beach, mountains, hot Baja weather, dusty environment, taken timelapses, used for astrophotography, etc, etc, just a great overall camera with excellent IQ, GPS is helpful when shooting astrophotography. I just bought a second hand Pentax K-5 II to have as a backup camera, have not used it yet. I also have a Canon T5i, and a Lumix LX10, but i use the K-3 II 98% of the time. Its a little heavy but it gives you confidence that if you drope it nothing will happen to it. The two slots for the SD cards are handy, battery last for about 700+ pics. 8.3 frames per second is great when shooting fast moving objects. I´m just glad i went with this brand and camera.
Junior Member

Registered: May, 2015
Posts: 26
Review Date: September 3, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: instant satisfaction, noticeable increase keeper rate, AF in low light
Cons: AE metering switch was cooler then the Button
Years Owned: 1 Month    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    New or Used: Used   

My K-3 II was a birthday present to me. As one would expect it for 400€ it was in used condition with 33k on the clock but since its build for 200k and its just cosmetic wear on the lower backside of the body I could not resist after handling it for a few minutes .
When I upgreaded from my K-50 the the K-5 it felt like a slight upgrade. Sure the build and the additional buttons were great but it did not feel like a big game changer the K-3 II however did. As someone who was used to the 16 mp sensor with AA filter the jump in resolution is tremendous,don't know how it feels when coming from a K-5 IIs tho. The GPS is nice to have too, but it used it much. However the real kicker for me is the Autofocus and the SR! I don't care if its industry leading or not, I also don't care for AF.S and so-and-so-many AF points as I like the one in the middle and and... it feels so snappy now. I can now use the AF for snapshots in light that would have required a good portion of luck with my K-5. As I do more and more events this has become an issue(people tend to party in dim light) which seems to be solved now. The SR feels like it has undergone some major upgrade too.

So if you feel the need for something newer then the K-5 then don't hesitate. Ohh and it has Pixelshift.

Update: I was making pictures at this small farming vehicle festival and I found the SR really impressive, 24mm is fairly wide but 1.3 seconds exposure is pretty long too if you have no tripod. I think this picture shows what the SR is capable of. Under these conditions it might not yeld pictures for a large print but I (as a nonpixelpeeper) find them still usable:

Model - PENTAX K-3 II
Software - PENTAX K-3 II Ver. 1.10
ExposureTime - 1.3 seconds
FNumber - 2.80
ExposureProgram - Aperture priority
ISOSpeedRatings - 3200
Sigma AF Super Wide II 24mm f2.8

My keeperrate in less then ideal light has skyrocketed!
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Wild-Nord-East Hungary
Posts: 136
Review Date: February 3, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great picture quality , GPS
Cons: none
Years Owned: 9 months    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: Used   

Excellent camera!
I look into the viewfinder with my left eye, and sometimes I press the WB button with my nose; but since when I pay attention to this, such not problem
New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 2, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $936.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid body, Excellent picture quality , GPS, Pixel shift, In body stabilization, outstanding colors and resolution, APS-C censor allows for a huge number of excellent lens from Pentax and 3rd party, No moving lcd, second lcd for night mode shooting, Astro
Cons: Build in Microphone pics up noise from the camera. It is way better with external mic for video.
Years Owned: less than 1 year    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 9    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I am a Pentax owner since 2010. I use to have Pentax K-X that after using for 8 years I sold to London Drugs for around 200 CAD. Since Pentax K-X never let me down for almost a decade I was not interested in any other brand. I also had spend 900 $ on 16-50 F2.8 Pentax lens. Well initially I was going to buy the K1II but after I realized that my favorite lens was not going to work as intended I decided to go for with the K3II. Well and this was a really good decision on my side. The quality of the image is superb. The camera is fast. Auto focus is good. Colors are natural. The camera is weather sealed. One thing that I will recommend for anyone that like to take videos is to buy an external microphone.The build in mic works but camera noise also gets recorded. Also this a photo camera. It will take video up to 1080p the quality is good but it doesn't take 4k . If you need above 1080P and or some specific video recording features look elsewhere.
Pixel shift was a new thing for me but I was pleasantly surprised. Ideally in order to use it you need a stationary object and tripod. The camera and most of the zoom lenses are heavy for this reason I will recommend a heavy duty tripod. Also the Astro-tracing work well. The camera dose not have a build in flash. I don't like to use flash so for me this was a bonus . At the moment I have used the camera with 3 lenses Pentax 16-50 DA*, Pentax 18-135 DA-WR and Sigma 30 mm DC art. I personally like 16-50 DA* best. It works really well with the camera you can take some nice photos at any lighting conditions (fixed F2.8) and weather sealed lens. The 18-135DA-WR was a kit lens with the camera i like the lens because it is much lighter and has a nice long zoom range. It is weather sealed this makes it an excellent combo with the weather sealed body. The camera works really well with Sigma 30 mm DC art lens. Autofocus it is the same as with Pentax made lens but lens it is not weather sealed so you need to be careful with rain.
The grip on the camera is really good at least for my size hands. I wear gloves size medium.
There are some nice polycarbon screen protectors for the main LCD. Also the secondary screen helps with night shots when you can disable the main screen.
Buying an extended battery is a waist of money for this camera since the main battery quit good. But I will buy a second battery since charging of the battery takes quit some time.
Well this is all I can think of .
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Gislev
Posts: 86

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 22, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, Build Quality, Ergonomics, Weight and Size
Cons: None

This is a confession: I love this camera - and it is as close to perfection, as you can reasonably come, IMHO.

Actually I bought it, because I liked it after a short test at the local dealer. My thoughts were, that this little camera would be my 'leisure camera', as my Nikon pro-gear was bulky, heavy, and a pain to drag along for anything else but assignments.

Anyway: I fell in love with everything about the K-3 II and the Pentax system. Not to mention the fact, that it the venerable smc Pentax-K lenses work beautifully on the camera.

In fact I now use the Pentax K-3 II as my prime camera, my go-to camera for all my work. The Nikon D810 sits unused in its bag with all its lenses, and I haven't really used it for a couple of years: The K-3 II is that good.

So, Pentax, don't ever change the K-3 II - unless you'd make a K-3 IIBW: a dedicated black and white K-3 II, a DSLR without color filters on the sensor, and an optimized B&W image processor along the lines of the Leica M Monochrome! That would be a riot!!!
New Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Arizona
Posts: 11
Review Date: July 16, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: No | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality
Cons: Heavy-focusing problems
Years Owned: 2 Months    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 6    Features: 7    Value: 6    Image Quality: 7    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Been using Pentax since 1980-list of digital cameras-Ist DS (still have 2), K10d, K20d, K5iis (2) and now the K3II. Own about (15) Pentax lenses-all work perfectly on the K5iis. Wish I could say the same thing about the K3II. All of them have to be micro adjusted for sharpness-and they range from -8 to + 8. For some unknown reason my Ltds are the worst- I own the DA 15, DA 21, DA 40 and the DA 70. I don't think it should come from Ricoh in this condition-but I refuse to send it to Precision Camera-heard nothing but bad things about them. I have to have full confidence in my camera so I will probably go back to the K5iis
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 382

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 24, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great IQ, good low light IQ, near silent Shutter, Features, Very good AF, Build
Cons: Lack of Wireless support for Flash, buffer could be even better on burst
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

Lets cut to the chase, this is a very very good camera. Beautifully made, great ergonomics, more than respectable AF system (with the right lens) and possibly THE quietest shutter of any DSLR out there.
Add to the cost new these days, you could say it is the bargain DSLR.

Put a modern lens on the front and you get very snappy AF, almost instant. Which has in the past been a little frustrating. Try the DFA28-105 on the front and you will understand, even the 15-30 and 24-70 will leave you very impressed.

From a sports point of view, with its weight and AF, it is my preferred option over my K-1.

If there were niggles they are few, but here we are:-
Low light noise. Very impressive, and probably better than the old "king", the K-5, but my K-70 and I hear the KP are even better. Don't let put you off, I have shot at ISO12800 with very useable shots.

You are not going to get that delightful smoothness as the K-1, but don't forget this is APS-C and for that it is brilliant.

Lack of any sort of Wireless Flash support, either from Ricoh or Third party. This is my major bugbear with both the K-3II and K-1. We REALLY need Pentax dedicated wireless triggers for Flashguns. It is very frustrating.

Overall though, it is a bit of a beast, albeit a compact one, and possibly even now, one of the finest APS-C DSLR's out there, especially considering how long it has been out for.
The fact that it still uses the same battery as the K-1 and 645 series is also worth mentioning.

Sum up

Despite how long it has been out, it is still the go to APS-C camera overall (the K-70 and KP do have their own specific plus points though).

If you already have the K-1, then the K-3II is the perfect backup/second camera to give you flexibility, from not only performance, but also different angles of view and speed.

Well worth recommending.

Registered: May, 2008
Location: Naples, FL
Posts: 661

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 5, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $575.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: build quality, ergonomics, image quality, lack of AA filter
Cons: AF is only "good"
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

I have shot with Canon, Sony and now Pentax systems. I use Sony FF mirrorless for my general photography, but wanted to have a weather sealed camera and lens for wildlife photography. I have been shooting for about 8 years now with my various systems.

Ergonomics & Build Quality
The build quality is very high end. It feels completely solid and has the best weather sealing of any camera that I've personally owned. I've never owned a Canon or Nikon pro body, but I've shot with a 1D Mark IV before and I feel that the K3II is probably in that league. The camera is very compact for what it is and has a great grip feel despite being somewhat small. I like the feel overall and it would probably would be perfect with a longer lens if I added the grip. I have no complaints and it might be my favorite DSLR ergonomically.

Build quality is very good and the DA 300 that I have is a perfect match. They feel made for each other.

User Interface
I'm still adjusting since I'm new to Pentax, but I enjoy the user interface. The menu system is much easier than Sony's (which is terrible) and I was able to figure out most things without using a manual. I like all of the buttons on the camera to adjust settings and I feel like I rarely need to take my eye off of the viewfinder, which is my goal. One thing I don't like is the AF point selection method. I would prefer a joystick similar to what Canon has on their cameras. Hopefully the next model can fix this issue.

Autofocus & Features
I was hesitant to try Pentax because of all the autofocus comments you see online. I find the K3II to be decently fast and accurate for AF-S shooting and have no complaints for single focusing, even in low light. I find the AF-C tracking to be only "ok" however. It can track large, slow moving birds in the open sky, but if I lose focus I rarely can get it locked back on in time. Part of this comes down to learning the system, but I feel this really is a weak area. More focus points would be nice, especially further out in the frame, but it's something I can work with. For most of what people shoot however, I feel it works perfectly fine. The options are pretty decent for flexibility in different conditions. Overall the autofocus issue is probably exaggerated somewhat and wouldn't be a dealbreaker for most.

I think the features are excellent and for the price I paid the camera is a steal in this department. I haven't used astro tracer or Pixel shift for my purposes, but these are really nice features for a camera at this price point. The shutter is very well dampened on the camera, making it quiet and minimizing mirror slap. I'm still getting to know the features, but Pentax obviously packs a lot into their cameras and aren't "holding back" any features in this model. I would say that this is easily the best value on the used market in it's class. Unless you need the better autofocus systems of some of the competitors, I think the K3II punches really high above it's class. I also like the sensor stabilization. It's nice to have this for every lens, even though I feel like the Sony approach is the best where you have stabilization in the longer lenses and the camera. The K3II can't quite match that, but does a good job, even with a long lens like the DA 300.

Image Quality
Image Quality is great for APS-C. It doesn't quite rival the current generation of FF cameras, but it still provides great images. I especially appreciate the dynamic range of the sensor. I shot Canon in the past and the files were much more limited than with this camera. This is actually very useful for wildlife photography where you sometimes have bright highlights and shadows. Noise performance is competitive in its class, so no issues there. I'm also a huge fan of the no Anti-Aliasing approach. Images are extremely sharp out of the camera when paired with a great lens. I actually think that this camera produces the sharpest files of any I've used, even beating my Sony a7 FF camera.

The K3II is a lot of camera for not very much money. It provides pro level features for a budget camera and you really can't go wrong for the price. I'm hoping for a K3 III that can bring the image quality improvements of the KP and continue to improve the AF system. There is something about the camera that feels like a custom made photographic tool with features designed by real photographers. I love my a7 for it's image quality and my Sony lenses, but it really does feel more like an electronic appliance in comparison.

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Skĺne, Sweden
Posts: 470

6 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 14, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, features, menu, size, allround package
Cons: Some inherent to DSLRs, AF-tracking
Years Owned: 2    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

To give a brief background and to put my review in a perspective: I focus on model/portrait work since around 5 years. I have worked with K-x, K-5 K-3, K-01 and other systems as well - E-M5 mk1 and Fuji X-T1. I enjoy outdoor sessions best, but shoot indoors in a home studio during the winter. Having used the K-3 mk1 before parts of this review is borrowed from that review.

Ergonomics & Build Quality
Somewhere I read that you could "hammer a nail" with the K-3. I wouldn't advise that, but it surely has a great build quality. Pretty compact yet weighing in at around 800 g as well as a sturdy build makes it feel like a premium product. It goes very well together with the build quality of the Limited lenses and old manual lenses. I you have used the K-3 this will be very familiar, and quite similar to the K-5 too. One thing I liked better on the K-5 was the metering option switch, that was located around the mode dial on the K-5, that was much easier to operate in the dark, e.g. at fashion shows or performances. As I never use the movie mode, I would have made due without the movie/stills switch, record buttons and such. To me the K-3 is a stills camera.

Build quality is very good and the Limited series are a good match.

User Interface
This is one of the reasons I like Pentax. The menus are straightforward, they don't change (much) over time and models, and they are well thought out. Being a semi-pro camera the K-3 II has of course lots of external controls for most common functions (ISO button, exposure compensation, metering mode, and of course dual control wheels, so you don't have to resort to the menus at all for most common functions. It is hard to go back do a entry level camera for work when you get used to this. For portrait shooting I would like to move around focusing points with the directional buttons while looking through the viewfinder at all times, and focus with the rear AF button. This setup works very well with the K-3 II so I haven't felt that a dedicated AF-point selector is missing, but I am sure that would have been even better. I have gotten so spoiled by the Pentax menu layout, but when you use other brands you really do appreciate it. Comparing the menu to Olympus (E-M5) or Fuji (X-T1) I do prefer Pentax, especially over the Olympus. To me an interface should be all business, well thought out (then they don't need to change it each time) and self-explaining (you shouldn't need to resort to the manual as an advanced user). Pentax truly deserved 10 out of 10 in this area.

Autofocus & Features
One of the main reasons for upgrading from the K-5 to the K-3 was the improved auto focus, and the K-3 II is the same. However, it was a bit of a gamble, since I hadn't found a satisfying answer to my main concern. For portraits I shoot at large apertures and at close range, typically a couple of meters with the FA77 for a head-shot or half body. This gives very shallow DoF, stressing the AF-system accuracy. I don't care about tracking subjects, or AF-speed in those cases, just pure accuracy. Accuracy will depend on the situation, where color temperature, backlight etc will affect the system. Generally the K-5 would generate a keeper rate of about 60-70% where focus where perfect or close to perfect. Maybe the best pose or expression of the model was in the other 30-40%, not so fun. 100% is never achievable, but I wanted more. The K-3 II is a step up in this area, where the keeper rate would be upwards 80-90%. The 3 "super points" in the center are notably more accurate, but for compositional purposes I still want to use the other points (mostly corner points). Still, useful to have them available for those difficult situations. Also using the Fujifilm X-T1 quite a bit for portraiture I have experienced pros and cons for both OVF and EVF. The OVF is maybe not a feature but inherent to the DSLR design, but still I like it in the studio with flash work, where the EVF can't decide on the "boost level", where the OVF is constant. Even the best EVF will show some lag and decoupled feeling. Advantages of the EVF would of be greater magnification possibility regardless of sensor, focus peaking for manual focus, and the most apparent - to accurately preview the exposure. A nice to have feature of the K-3 II is the built-in GPS that I wish every camera had, perfect when travelling. For the more specialized features of the K-3 II - the AstroTracer and Pixel-shift they don't apply to my area of work so I have never used them extensively but would of course be very important to an astro photographer or still life. Looking at the competition the automatic AF calibration in the D500 would have been a nice addition!

Weather resistant design makes you confident! Shot with DA*55.

Being the flagship model for Pentax in the APS-C range nothing has deliberately been crippled on the K-3 II. You get all the goods, like high frame rate, large buffer size, most advanced AF-system available, lens AF-correction (per lens), exchangeable focusing screens. You also get interval modes, electronic level, selectable AA-filter (I just turned it of, never experienced any moire issued yet, and if you do the "simulator" won't get rid of them completely. I always shoot RAW and edit the files, and in Lightroom it is very easy to get rid of moire with a brush. In-body shake reduction is another great feature, especially when you shoot a bit of old manual glass as well. Two very useful features I got to have in any future body is the customization of Auto-ISO settings, where you can choose from slow, normal or fast, and also selectable high and low range. Simple software implementations that should be present in all enthusiast cameras IMHO. Another very useful feature to judge exposure is the combination of histogram + bright/dark area in playback mode. Shooting paid assignments dual SD cards have become something I really appreciate in a camera, even if I never have had any card failures. There are of course many more features, like catch-in focus when using manual glass, the many drive modes, best in-class OVF (I use it with the O-ME53) etc.

This is a bit subjective since I am already invested in and familiar with the Pentax system, but I find the K-3 to give the best "bang-for-the-buck" in its class. The Semi-Pro APS-C DSLR-segment sees little competition, where Nikon and Canon has taken another route with the 7D mk2 and D500 - going for Pro-level AF at a premium price point, where the predecessors where more in direct competition with the K-3, the K-3 II now has no apparent competition in it's price range, with other APS-C DSLRs being crippled at this price point. The competition is strong from mirrorless systems and I also used a Fujifilm X-T1. Fuji also aims at the semi-pro / enthusiast segment both with cameras like the X-T1 but also with lens lineup. I like and use both systems, having different strengths and weaknesses.

Image Quality & Noise
This was not the main reason for upgrading from the K-5 to the K-3, and not to the K-3 II either. Most of my work end up on the web or in small print, so I was already happy with the 16 Mpixel cameras in resolution. I do miss the dynamic range of the K-5 more actually, allowing to recover more details in post, most notably under difficult lighting situations. Shooting Pentax for a long time you get used to having everything stabilized, something I found missing on my Fuji system, having to watch the ISO much more carefully under low light situations.

Great image quality is possible with the K-3 II, here with FA77 in the studio.

Other thoughts
Great battery life where in practice I can shoot all day long on a single battery, and with the grip it just gets silly. I didn't notice any real difference from the K-5 or K-3, both truly excellent performers. The shutter is quite and camera very responsive. AF noise with the Limited lenses a bit high, but a bit charming and mechanical feel too it. Just be a bit careful when in the church shooting weddings

The best value APS-C DSLR on the market, and at a reasonable price for any serious photographer. Excelling in build quality, user interface and features and lacking in none really - perhaps only for AF-tracking. Unique lens selection in the Limited lenses, but competition from mirrorless segment is strong. To me the most complete and allround performer at its price point.

Registered: May, 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,205
Review Date: December 17, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast AF
Cons: poor tracking!
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 6    Features: 9    Value: 8    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 6    New or Used: Used   

Bought used, but with v.low shutter count earlier this year.

Edited March 2018: Used mainly at airshows, and the AF lock-on improvement over the K-3 is very noticeable - but so then is the ability NOT to maintain lock when the plane moves!
Seeker of Knowledge

Registered: August, 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Posts: 18,610
Review Date: December 17, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $836.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: seems well made, sharp, great value with battery grip
Years Owned: new 12/17    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I had passed on the K 3 II earlier and went for the K 3 + battery grip and the accessory GPS unit

then I found the deal that B & H is currently offering ( just checked, it is still available ) where you pay $7.00 over the price of the k 3 II for the K 3 II + the battery grip.

I decided to sell the K 5 II and go for it.

very satisfied
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Joensuu (Finland)
Posts: 1,761
Review Date: October 15, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-3 II: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ergonomics, AF, speed deamon
Cons: WiFi,
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 8    Value: 9    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: Used   

Having owned a K-5 and all its succesors, the K-3II was a joy to use. In every aspect. All the good stuff from its predecessors plus all the upgrades of a newer model.
My only gripe would be the poor wifi implementation. The connection would often drop, caused overheating and so battery drain.

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 2,184
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
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

1 user found this helpful
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

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,433
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

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