Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Pentax Camera Reviews » Pentax Digital Cameras » Pentax K-mount DSLRs
Pentax K-3 Review RSS Feed

Pentax K-3

Ergonomics 
 9.4
Build Quality 
 9.8
User Interface 
 9.0
Autofocus 
 8.7
Features 
 9.4
Value 
 9.0
Image Quality 
 9.6
Noise 
 8.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
34 90,986 Fri March 30, 2018
spacer
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,161.39 9.41
Pentax K-3

Pentax K-3
supersize
Pentax K-3
supersize
Pentax K-3
supersize
Pentax K-3
supersize
Pentax K-3
supersize
Pentax K-3
supersize

Description:

The Pentax K-3 was announced on October 8, 2013 as the new Pentax DSLR flagship model. Compared to the K-5, it has a 24MP sensor (vs. 16MP for the K-5), a faster frame rate of 8.3 FPS, 27 AF points (op from 11), more AF modes, and a 3.2 inch monitor (up from 3 inch).

Click here for our in-depth review of the Pentax K-3

Of particular interest is a couple of new innovative features:

1) The sensor has no anti-alias filter just like the K-5 IIs, but the effect of an AA filter can be simulated through micro-movements of the sensor using the shake reduction (SR) mechanism. This means that the effect of an AA filter can basically be turned on and off. 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.

2) The camera supports 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.

3) A new, more sensitive metering system deploying a 86,000 pixel sensor. The metering sensitivity goes down to -3 EV thus matching the impressive -3 EV lowest sensitivity of the autofocus system.

The K-3 has 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 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264(MOV), which is more widely used than the AVI format of the K-5 series.

The body 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-5 and the battery grip from the K-5/K-7 will not fit. A new grip, BG5, has been developed. The grip takes either a rechargeable D-LI90 Li-Ion battery or 6 AA batteries.

The additional features have called for a few extra buttons to be added to the camera body so that many settings can be changed without having to go into the menu. Details about the button layout is described in our in-depth review.

Major features subsequently added through firmware updates:

  • Version 1.30: Support for lenses with KAF4 mount, i.e. lenses that have foregone the mechanical stop-down lever
  • Version 1.20: Support for AF buttons on the barrel of the HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm lens
  • Version 1.10: Diffraction Correction
  • Version 1.03: Support for HD Pentax-DA Rear Converter 1.4X AW
  • Version 1.02: AA Filter Bracketing

Camera Manuals:


Pentax K-3
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Year Introduced
2013
In Production
No (Discontinued 2016)
Current US Price
N/A
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
No
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. 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 100 x 77.5 mm
Weight
715 g (800 g with battery and SD card)
File format
PEF (RAW),DNG (RAW),JPG,MOV
Battery life
720 images (560 images with 50% flash usage) Video playback time: 370 minutes
Battery
D-LI90 lithium-ion rechargeable
Flash
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 13 (ISO 100/m)
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*
* Available when combined with external flash
TTL flash
No
Flash exposure comp
-2 to 1 EV
Video
Resolution / Framerates
1920x1080 (16:9 Full HD) at 60, 30, 25 and 24 fps,
1280x720 (16:9) at 60, 30, 25 and 24 fps,
MPEG4 AVC/H.264
Interval Movie (4K, Full HD, HD)
Exposure Modes
P, Av, TAv, 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
Via Accessory
Tethering
Via O-FC1 FLUcard
Connectivity
USB 3, HDMI out, stereo mic, headphones, DC in, X-sync, cable release
Latest Firmware
Version 1.30
Notes
User reviews
In-depth review
Astrotracer compatible, Diffraction correction requires firmware update, Electronic level, Embed copyright information in EXIF, 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 (with firmware update), 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

Prestige, Silver

Megapixels: 24.0
ISO Range: 100-51200
Weight: 800g
FPS: 8.3
LCD: 3.2"
In Production: Buy the Pentax K-3
Type: Advanced DSLR
Weather Sealed: Yes
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax K-3 in-depth review!
Manual: http://www.ricoh-imaging.eu/media/b8320cbe10de8415d32b5e0d641b6d19/K3-OPM-EN.pdf



Add Review of Pentax K-3 Buy the Pentax K-3
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 34
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 73
Review Date: March 30, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent detailed image quality, fast AF, Weather sealed body
Cons: Dim viewfinder markings, live view doesnt reflect actual exposure in manual mode, heavy body,
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 9    Features: 9    Value: 9    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 8    New or Used: Used   

I must admit I stopped using dslrs a long time ago as I made the switch to Mirrorless camera systems. I still have a few dslrs lying around such as a canon 5d mark 1 and a pentax k-x but dont use them much. I made the switch to mirrorless bodies mainly due to size and weight issues. Also mirrorless bodies like the Sony 7r and Fuji XT1 give excellent image quality. An issue with mirrorless systems is the cost factor [when it comes to lenses] and many of their lens offerings are not weather sealed. The A7r and XT2 are weather sealed but I dont have any of their expensive weather sealed lenses. Sometime back when I had gone out and it started raining and it was so beautiful to look at but alas I couldnt go and stand under the rain to click some nice pics as the lens on my xt2 [a 16-50mm] wasnt weather sealed. It was then I realised the value of a weather sealed body and lens. I already had a pentax 18-55 WR lying around [bought it used for 50£] and just neeeded a good pentax body with weather sealing to use with it. After doing a search I found a used pentax K3 would be the best option for me. I bought one used from a used camera dealer for 325£ here in UK.

The most interesting feature of this camera is its 24 mp sensor without an AA filter. This lets you capture sharper images at risk of some moire appearing under certain situations. This feature was already available in k5 iis but that has a 16 mp sensor while this one has 24. This also has a faster processor, faster af, larger buffer.




The camera came with firmware ver 1.00. I updated it to 1.30.

Now let me mention the pros and cons

Pros [in random order]

1.Excellent image quality. Very detailed upto iso 800.
2.Weather sealed body
3.24mp sensor without aa filter
4.Excellent feature set with options for customisation
5.Fast phase detect af with 27 cross type af points
6.Fast contrast detect af in live view
7.Very low shutter noise and slap
8.Dual sd card slots
9.14 bit raw
10.Excellent in body stabilisation. I managed to get sharp shots at 1/5 [careful handling required - keep shutter button pressed till shutter fires and then remove finger and not before]. In my xt2 and sony 7r I dont have inbody stabilisation and need to have shutter speeds of 1/50 when using manual lenses.I have to increase iso but results in more noise. The same shot which needs iso 3200 and 1/50 on my mirrorless bodies without ibis I can get with 1/10 and iso 800 [just a rough estimate] with the k3. Also keep in mind as iso goes up the dr goes down. So you have an advantage with manual lenses and ibis with the K3

Cons [in random order]

1.The stock viewfinder focuing screen doesnt have clear viewfinder af point markings. Pentax seems to be using the same screen in all of their dslrs. I can hardly see the markings in normal day light leave alone at night or low light. It makes it difficult to compose a shot when you cant see the markings and have difficulty in focusing on a subject. Cameras from Nikon and Canon have such detailed focusing screens [even their older models from early 2000s] its surprising pentax still uses this focusing screen. For a camera sold as a pro grade body the focusing screening is a big let down.I know there are replacement focusing screens with more detail but it would have been a good thing if a good came along with body.

2.Another issue with the focusing screen is location of the af points most of which are a tiny square in the centre of the screen. Bodies from nikon like the d2h came with af points spread on almost the entire area while this one has most of them in the centre area only.

3.Live view in manual mode doesnt reflect actual exposure settings, Since early pentax models with live view like the K7 Kx Kr pentax doesnt have a live view which reflects the exposure settings in manual mode. Mirrorless Cameras from likes of sony, fuji, samsung reflected exposure settings in manual mode which is very helpful in shot composition but sadly inspite of technology available pentax didnt implement this in K3. The only useful thing is you get a brignt screen even when aperture has been set to a very high number [which results in a dark screen in mirrorless bodies] and helps in shot composition

4.When using manual lenses in live view you cannot scroll the area you want to magnify. When using af lenses you can chose af point but you cant do the same with manual lenses. You need to magnify screen and scroll to area in screen you want to view. I vaguely recollect pentax kx which let you select area you want to magnify but its missing in this one. I searched through menu but couldnt locate an option for it. Also area for magniication is just 60% of screen. In sony cameras like nex 5n you could magnify entire screen till very corners.

5.Very heavy body. You need strong hands to hold this camera if you are planning on shooting lots of pics. My elbows started to ache after I shot 100 pics within 2 hours. This is where mirrorless bodies score which are far more lighter and let you shoot more pics without body aches

6.Moire in video. Although this camera has an ok video/movie mode it exhibits moire [due to the sensor] and there is nothing much you can do. Keeping sharpmess to lowest will slightly help

7.No on body button/switch button to chose af-s or af-c on body. Pentax still gives you choice of af and mf only. If you want af-s or af-c it has to be selected in menu or a biutton has to customised for it. Some Nikon, canon dslrs and some mirrorless bodies like xt2 give this option on the body.

8.Very slight mushy noise reduction seems to be implemented from iso 1600 onwards [happens even if nr is turned off]

9.Clipped hightlights in overexposed areas [under certain conditions]. Not much latitude when processing raws

10. A typical pentax sensor noise which show up at high iso. It usually appears as tiny white noise at random places [to be mistaken for hot pixels]. I think this has to do with their primary rgb filter. It is less prominent on the K3 as compared to older pentax bodies like the kx

11.In the xt2 body which I have noise is less on higher iso than this body. Also you get to see more detail in higher iso. Thing is both cameras dont have an aa filter yet images are more detailed at higher isos on the xt2 than this one? Must be something to do with the exclusive color filter on the fuji x camera systems which lets you have more detail at higher isos

Inspite of above shortcomings I will keep this camera as I need the weather sealed body for use in extreme weather conditions. Also the cost of an excellent weather sealed body and lens came to around 375£ for me

Would I recommend this? Yes and NO. Would recommend this to enthusiast photographers who want a little more from their dslr. Will not recommend this to new photographers.

Thank you for reading my review
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 113
Review Date: January 15, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: focus peaking, live view
Cons: Battery life
Years Owned: 3 weeks    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 8    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    New or Used: Used   

Adding my review mostly to provide a used price data point. I bought it this camera 3 weeks ago used at a local shop. Paid $400 for it and it came with 3 extra batteries. The first picture I took was shutter count 2315 so it was a camera that had seen very little use.

I primarily use old M42 lenses so the focus peaking is the feature I like most so far, especially when zoomed in with it to get the focus spot on. One thing I have noticed is that the metering is off on most of them with my Tokina 28-70 f/2.8 metering about 1.3 stops darker than it actually is (always overexposed) and most of the others metering 1 stop brighter (always underexposed).

So far I have mostly taken pictures of stuff around the house as I learn how to operate this camera so those have all been junk pictures as I wanted to learn the camera. I did take it up to the Como Park Conservatory last weekend for some actual use and was very pleased with the image quality produced by this camera as well as having the features that are useful to me with old manual lenses.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 4,942

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 25, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Well built, fast AF, excellent controls, very good image quality
Cons: Flimsy mode dial, terrible white balance, auto-exposure inaccuracy

I bought the K3 to replace my aging K200D, mostly to get better AF, better high ISO image quality and to stop using AA batteries, which cause a lot of problems in the K200D (even using the best ones available on the market).

I was happy to find that the K3 is a success in all of those counts. AF is fast and accurate (all of my lenses are screw-drive) and high ISO image quality is a couple of stops better than the K200D. I'll use the K3 up to ISO 1600 in colour and I've used it up to around 8000 in B&W, though results that high are grainy and not that sharp.

The camera feels great in the hand - solid, extremely ergonomic and with all the controls easily found. The only part that lets down the build quality is the mode dial, which I take great care with as it's clearly very flimsy and not up to the standard of the rest of the camera. It has a lot of buttons and once you learn your way around it's easy to find and change any setting quickly.

With the grip added I find the camera ergonomically perfect for my large hands, though it adds quite a lot of weight (even empty) so for travel it tends to stay at home.

Image quality at lower ISOs is very good indeed, exceeding that of the K200D in dynamic range (but not in colour - the K200D with it's CCD sensor is superb in that respect). The 24MP has very occasionally come in handy for severe cropping but is totally unnecessary for the majority of shots.

As for the negative aspects of the camera, I'd sum them up as:

1. The flimsy mode dial (already mentioned)
2. The often terrible white balance
3. Exposure inaccuracy
4. AF calibration "jumping"

The white balance of shots is wrong around 80% of the time, usually by a lot and it's usually not possible to correct it in camera. The auto WB gets it wrong and then the pre-sets are also wrong so the only way to get it right is later on a computer. This is extremely frustrating and means that when using a wifi SD card in the field to be able to share shots to a smartphone and then on to a social network or such I have to settle for less than ideal WB.

Exposure inaccuracy is part-and-parcel of DSLRs to some degree because they don't "see" the whole scene until the photo is taken, but the K3 is no better than the K200D in this regard. Like the WB, auto-exposure is wrong 80% of the time and has to be corrected in post. The camera is limited to 2 stops up or down (and they have to be full stops) in processing RAWs so if more is required or smaller increments are needed, like the WB fixes, it has to be done on a computer later. You would think that in the six years between the K200D and the K3 Pentax would have managed to improve this somewhat. My mirrorless Fujifilm X-M1 is spot-on almost always.

The AF on my K3 was perfect out of the box - AF was spot-on on all of my AF lenses (the vast majority of which had been perfect on my K200D). That was until one day, for no reason at all, it suddenly "jumped" and all my lenses were misfocusing until I changed the setting to +4 across the board. I've no idea why this happened but I lost a lot of shots due to this problem until I realised what had happened.

In summary, the K3 is an impressive machine and a pleasure to use, but it does have aspects in which it falls flat on it's face and in most cases it's due to basic functions which there's really no excuse for not having fixed in this day and age.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 85

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 24, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: handling build quality features
Cons: noisy autofocus, poor battery life
Years Owned: 18 months    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 10    Value: 9    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

In Sept 2015 I decided it was about time I got a DSLR for some of my more serious use. I have and still am a fan of film. The choice was between the K3, the K3ii or a Nikon D7200 as I have a lot of legacy lenses from both systems I wanted to keep using. I preferred the feel of the Pentax cameras in hand so chose to go with them, finally settling on the original K3 as I believed at the time I was more likely to use built in flash than the GPS or pixel shift of the K3ii. I've yet to use the flash but probably would have used the pixel shift on occaison! Oh well.
Its taken me this long to actually work out which settings work best for me as there are so many of them, but finally I am getting results that I am finding really satisfying. Although I still have not fully explored all the settings and combinations!
Initially I was using it with a Pentax A 28mm f2.8, Pentax A 50mm f1.7, and Tamron SPii 90mm f2.5, but soon acquired a DA 50-200mm WR and DA 35mm f2.4. I've lately added DA 50mm f1.8.
I find I get best results with the DA glass or the Tamron.
If I was to go through the process again I would probably choose the K70 for pixel shift and flippy screen or K3ii for pixel shift and build quality.
The autofocus with my DA glass is relatively noisy, but I actually quite like this, screw drive is tried and tested simple tech. The noise is not really that loud and not on for very long as the lenses snap into focus quickly.
The battery life is poor for a DSLR when compared to Pentax rivals Nikon and Canon but its still good enough for my use and it is no bother to carry a spare battery or make sure you are fully charged before going out for a day
UPDATE
I have discovered a really useful feature of the K3. I do not know if it is available on other Pentax models, I guess it probably is although which ones no idea. Anyway I have started to take pictures in RAW, and I can post process in camera to get the colours and contrast just right. For me this is fantastic as I am not a fan of spending ages sat down at a computer screen arsing about with files and programs - might as well go back to film and darkroom! Joking aside, this feature is great as I have no need to use a computer for the vast majority of my shots. It is really quick and easy to do -
1. shoot RAW files
2. In view mode, press the arrow down/flash button
3. scroll to digital filter then OK
4. select base parameter adjustment, press info button
5. adjust for brightness, saturation, hue, contrast and sharpness
6 press OK twice to save adjusted image as JPEG. If you have 2 SD cards loaded you can choose which one to save to. I take RAW on card one and save adjusted images to card 2.
I now only ever need to use my computer if I need to dodge and burn or adjust for perspective - very rare for me.
This also makes it so much easier also when printing images as now only the best are on card 2 and can be found much more quickly.
I have upgraded my initial ratings from 8 to 9 for for user interface and 9 to 10 for features

   
Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,366
Review Date: June 22, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,015.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 24 megapixels, build quality. ergonomics, great features, low light auto-focus
Cons: None for me
Years Owned: December 2013    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

This camera body is a true gem IMO. The button layout is very intuitive for me and a pleasure to use. The low light auto-focus is fantastic. I teamed mine with a genuine D-BG5 grip and find this combination excellent. The specifications for this camera are common knowledge now, so I don't need to go into them, but if you want a great APS-C body, this would be my recommendation. With many owners of this camera moving to the Full Frame K-1, some bargains are sure to be had. There are no issues with this body anymore as the mirror flap problem was sorted out long ago with a firmware update. The photographs in the member galleries are a testament as to how good this camera is. I have included 2 of mine which I am quite happy with, just to show the versatility of the K-3. If you get a chance to pick one up, I can highly recommend this body.



   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 34
Review Date: March 28, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 100% view finder, Weather Resistant, In Camera SR
Cons: No Tilting Screen, Although more AF points Actually not as good as K5 IMHO
Years Owned: 2014    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 8    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I don't think it's possible to find a better APSC camera from any manufacture at present. Image quality is excellent, build quality is first rate not that i would try but i swear i could hammer a nail in with this and not do it any damage. There's several reason why i buy Pentax every time which are 100% OVF, SR, WR and Build Quality. The only thing i would really like to see is a tilting LCD screen. I know people bang on about 4K video but Pentax knows its strength lies in Stills imagery and they excel at this. If you want Video i'd buy another brand but if you want great Stills Images then the K3 or its successor the K3II wont let you down.
   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 59
Review Date: January 16, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: metal body, dedicated grip, TOP camera at all
Cons: not found yet
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

upgraded from K-30

I can say the camera is made at the highest level.
metal body, very efficient work of all the buttons and dials.
it is the TOP camera without doubts.
very strong an solid.
very fast and precise AF.
very silent shutter.



Only one strange moment, I must point out - it is imposed on the 4-way controller access to changing color profiles. I do not need use this function to much often. with this button You can change the color profile accidentaly and unexpectedly get really strange colors in the photos.
in the case of shooting on RAW it is not so important, but... in any case the camera is very good.
   
Junior Member

Registered: September, 2012
Posts: 29
Review Date: January 4, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: great build quality and ergonomics, good stabilization, great IQ
Cons: shortish battery life
Years Owned: less than 1    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: Used   

Upgraded to the K3 from the K30. The K3 is awesome value for money when you compare it to Nikon/Canon rivals. The RAW files this camera produces are a joy to use. The build quality of this camera is awesome - the K3 makes similar priced cameras such as the D5500 feel like a toy. My only complaint is that the battery life in a bit underwhelming compared to what is advertised - not a big issue though.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 1,148
Review Date: October 19, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: compact, SR, weather sealed, many features
Cons: slow AF, no fast primes (not recent)
Years Owned: 2    Ergonomics: 8    Build Quality: 9    User Interface: 8    Autofocus: 6    Features: 9    Value: 6    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 8    New or Used: New   

Pentax cameras drop in price by almost 50% 1 year after introduction. The basic concept still hold, but it has been soem time that a decent APS-C lens was added. D-FA lenses with interesting specs are promised as is a FF body.
AF is not up to oponents speed, precision, ... K5 was much worse here, but there is still some room for improvement.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 2,525

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 29, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: small, light, amazing build, weather sealing, speedy processing, lots of features
Cons: flash sync speed, grip has no pad for AF selection

Let me start off by saying this is a phenomenal camera and one I enjoy shooting with all the time. There is very little I would change about this camera, but those changes are big ones that would affect the whole system. I see no need to upgrade from the K3 to any other body in the Pentax lineup, rumored or currently in production as of 6/29/15.

Ergonomics/user interface
I rated these an 8 due to a couple of key things. First of all the body itself is masterfully laid out. Almost every function you need to access in day to day shooting can be changed just from a button or dial on the camera itself. More cameras in this class need this functionality. Your trinity of exposure is so easily adjusted you never have to take your eye from the camera to make adjustments. It's a really seem less setup. Once you setup your camera in the menu system, which is pretty well laid out, you almost never need to return... unless you want to delete or format images on the card.

Alas, everything is not perfect. The 4-way Dpad for example is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, Pentax, you've done a wonderful job with double functions on the d-pad for both white/balance, flash, etc. as well as AF point slection. You've done this for a while. But nothing is more frustrating than trying to adjust your AF point with eye to viewfinder and your actually changing color profiles.

In addition, the lack of D-pad or joystick on the battery grip ruins the otherwise brilliant laid out controls from the body. So, with my short stubby thumb, I cannot reach the D pad to adjust my focus points when using the grip vertically.

Finally, why is "format memory card" semi hidden in the menus?

These minor operational concerns can become very frustrating and make you look silly when your trying to shoot on location with a client. Nothing is can breakup the tempo of a shoot like fiddling with camera settings.

build quality
No one makes them as strong as Pentax. I've owned Nikon and Canon professional cameras. Olympus and Fuji flagships, and the Sony A7. Nothing gives me the confidence that I could shoot in everything from a sandstorm, to a tropical rainforest than my Pentax gear. I've shot during a downpour on the beach, in an in-land rainforest, dropped it in a fountain, and it just keeps on ticking! I've shot in minus 30 Celsius weather and it just keeps on going. Best built camera ever. Period.

Autofocus:
Auto-focus is one of the glaring system issues with Pentax. I was a firm believer until about two years ago that the system was fine and there is no problems with it. Since then I've been awoken to the the pain. Now it's not the accuracy, because the system is very accurate and doesn't hunt. When it locks on it's perfect. The problem is the speed.the lens motors just cannot keep up to fast movements for sports or even fashion runway.

I feel though that if you adapt to the limitations of the autofocus speed and anticipate the action you will be able to overcome the speed concern and become a better photographer because of it. Photographers have not always had access to lightning quick AF, and they did just fine. However, in the modern era, we shouldn't be this far behind. And we are once you get a chance to experience the speed of a Nikon 24-70 f2,8.

Features:
The K3 has almost every feature I ever wanted in a camera. There is an incredible amount of control over your still imagery from image stacking to interval movie modes. There is not much left over that I would add, if anything at all. They got it right and offer a pretty competitive package and more. Sure Wifi and GPS would be nice. I think Wifi is overrated as its often a broken system, but the GPS would be awesome for anyone who shoots outside so they can geotag right away, add on astrotracer... and well you got the K3II which sounds pretty awesome.

But I must take off major points for the flash system. This is the ONLY reasons I don't use Pentax full time anymore, and it's really disheartening as I love the system as a whole otherwise. A 1/160" flash sync speed is just unacceptable for professional lighting work. The fact you cannot trick the camera into firing strobes any faster than 160 is just not enough for combating the sun with strobes. It's fine for studio work, but I would at least want 1/200, I can almost work with that, 1/320 would be best. At least there are a few aftermarket options that give you some work around this issue.

Image Quality:
The image quality of this camera is just what you should expect from a modern DSLR. Sure it's not FF, but who cares? You get a very rich and vivid image with lots of room to play with the dynamic range across all colour spectrums in post. The only place it falls down is hi-iso noise which this camera seems to start really getting in the way around 6,400.

Overall its an amazing camera, and one I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a high end DSLR compared to entry level fullframe cameras that are the hype. I would even go out on a limb and say it out performs cameras like the D610 and 6D. The sensor size is over hyped, so lets just say this camera can hang with the top dogs and leave it at that.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 19

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 24, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good at high ISO, Superb colour, Easy to navigate menus
Cons: None yet
Years Owned: 6 Months    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 10    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

I recently upgraded to the K-3 from the K-x. The difference between the two cameras is, obviously, huge. The K-x is an older entry level DSLR, the K-3 is new and an advanced level camera. I read many K-3 reviews before purchase, so I knew it was going to be a very capable camera.
My first few shots with the K-3 were, to me, quite impressive. When I compared them with shots I have seen online that have been shot with the same camera, I was a little disappointed with what I was getting. They were not very sharp. Initially, I suspected that it might be that my lenses, budget zoom lenses, might need to be calibarated or upgraded. While looking at my pictures on the PC I began to notice a trend, I was expecting the camera to be sharp outside of my abilities, i.e. combined wide aperture and low shutter speed.
Now that I have started thinking more about the picture when I am taking it, as is expected of a camera at this level, the sharpness in my images is improving.
At present, I can't think of anything that I do not like about this camera, admittedly I haven't tried all of its features, but all I have used so far have been great. Here are a few of my favourite features:
86,000px Scene Metering - I think this is just awesome. I find that it meters accurately and makes post processing easy.
Pentax Menu System - The menus on the K-3 are exactly the same as on the K-x. Some items may have moved and there are many more items, but it is easy to navigate. This made the upgrade so much easier.
Pentax Colour Rendering - I loved the colours that came straight out of the K-x, I almost never had to adjust them in post. The colours, straight out of the K-3, are just as good and don't need to be enhanced.
Autofocus - In the K-3 this is a massive improvement it locks on quickly, even in scenes where the K-x would have struggled, e.g. shooting a small bird through the branches of a tree.
Dynamic Range - A few pictures I have taken have impressed me with just how much the sensor captures. See my niece below.

Lens - SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED @ 300mm; ISO - 1600; f - 8.0; T - 1/200s (handheld)
This is a shot I do to practice handholding long shots, and, to see just how much the camera and lens can resolve. The couple in the foreground are about 150 to 200m from me. The yellow rails in the centre are 1,600m from me.


Lens - SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL @ 55mm; ISO - 200; f - 5.6; T - 1/100s
I took this picture of my niece using the AF540FGZ II wirelessly off camera and bounced off the ceiling, with the camera flash as control. The batteries in the flash died so the picture came out really dark (top right is how it was RAW with no adjustment). I had to really push it in processing (+3ev and a lot in leveling) to get it to lighten up. I was expecting to see a lot of noise from pushing the processing so much, but there was so little that I consider the fixed picture to be more than acceptable.


Lens - SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED @ 300mm; ISO - 800; f - 8.0; T - 1/200s
I got lucky with this shot as the bird let me get really close, less than 5m. The detail in the feathers, even at the relatively high ISO is just amazing. See the 100% crop below.


Lens - SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED @ 300mm; ISO - 640; f - 8.0; T - 1/200s
I was expecting this picture to be a lot darker than it is. This little robin was sitting low down in a hedge and was very well shaded. The metering system in the K-3 performed brilliantly to get this so beautifully lit.



My post processing skills are not brilliant so I keep processing to a minimum, levels, clarity and sharpening.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 17

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 26, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: process speed, resolution, handling
Cons: more sensitive to blur and noise
Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 9    Autofocus: 7    Features: 9    Value: 10    Image Quality: 9    Noise: 6    New or Used: New   

Had this camera now for a couple of weeks, had a quick trip away and just completed a wedding using it.

I have just come from the K5IIs and find that all those extra megapixels take some extra finesse to use. I relate the K3 to getting an upgraded sports car instead of that comfy tourer I was used too. Twitchy handling needs careful hands to get the best out of it.

The K5IIs 16mp sensor is still the epitomy of sensor in tech in some ways, such as DR and Noise, so it's a hard act to follow. Putting extra Mp into a sensor is easy, but as the new K3II would suggest, that user feedback meant that noise and blur needed addressing by new sensor shift tech.

However, when you nail it, by using tripod, or higher shutter speed, iso combo, the resolution is pretty amazing. I have recently started shooting some small birds again and find that even when cropping, I still have incredible detail. But when the light gets dim and the subjects are close enough, I still prefer the K5IIs .......

Weight increase is un noticeable in my hands, the button layout feels even better though and feels more intuitive to me. I also thought the metering was a slight improvement. Improved too is the processing speed and the burst rate .... if it really matters to you.....

They say the AF is improved, but I still get the odd hit and miss issue with my Pentax gear in general and do wonder if I just need to be more careful or one of those other brands would net me more keepers ??? ....ie lenses and AF locking up on me...........Ouch !!

Built like a brick outhouse again, the K3 is as sturdy does ..... who compares in the DSLR stakes? Nobody..

So is the K3 and improvement ?? Yes it is and a very good camera, but I can sympathise with those who chose to stay with the K5IIs, although I think that the new K3II will address issues that some struggle with and see K5IIs users eventually upgrade by hopping over a model.

I feel the K3 has been valuable in teaching me a lesson in going back to basics and being a lot more careful with my shutter speeds and holding steady, because the K5IIs was so good in low light that it made me lazy.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 4,256
Review Date: February 27, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image quality (no AA filter helps), display
Cons: Batery life, exif, some functions of K-5 removed
Years Owned: 1    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 8    User Interface: 5    Autofocus: 8    Features: 3    Value: 6    Image Quality: 8    Noise: 6    New or Used: New   

I came from the K-5. I like the AF speed, burst rate, image quality and handling of the K-3.
Things that I miss from the K-5: advanced bracketing, b&w filter on jpegs.
Things that I don't like: battery life compared to k-5 and especially D7100 (I believe there is a design flop on the power management of the K-3), not intuitive access to some functions in the menus.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Newark, Delaware
Posts: 773
Review Date: January 9, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: image quality, build quality, controls live view autofocus.
Cons: flimsy strap, no USB cable provided, manual is skimpy on information
Years Owned: less than 1    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

Improved on the already great K-5 wherever improvements could be made. A great camera overall. I especially like the autofocus improvement with screwdrive limited lenses and live view autofocus with macro lenses. Build quality is exceptional. The glass monitor screen seems like it will be less sensitive to scratches than the plastic screen on my K-5. The only cons are minor but it seems cheap to have left out the USB cable. I am sure it is inexpensive but it would have been nice to have it in the box as it was with K-5. While I am at it, I will likely get an aftermarket strap of a better quality more suitable to this very high quality camera.
   
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: South AFrica
Posts: 298

8 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 9, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: -Excelent image quality
Cons: -Had some issues with underexposure with Flash
New or Used: New   

Having had a long line Pentax Cameras including a K100D,K10D,K20D,K5D and now my silver K3.

This by far the best Pentax I have owned and as a picture is worth a thousand words here is a few million....











Regards JK
Add Review of Pentax K-3 Buy the Pentax K-3



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:30 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top