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Pentax K-3

Ergonomics 
 9.4
Build Quality 
 9.8
User Interface 
 9.1
Autofocus 
 8.8
Features 
 9.4
Value 
 9.0
Image Quality 
 9.6
Noise 
 8.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
30 73,604 Wed June 22, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,194.35 9.47
Pentax K-3

Pentax K-3
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Pentax K-3
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Pentax K-3
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Pentax K-3
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Pentax K-3
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Pentax K-3
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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 1.10: 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
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 1.21
Notes
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



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Eager To Learn

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,565
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: 29
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.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2012
Posts: 24
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.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 888
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.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 2,494

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

1 user 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.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 2,811
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.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Newark, Delaware
Posts: 419
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
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 384

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 14, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast focus, low light auto focus, fast saving to memory cards
Cons: Heavier than K5. Have to work out best jpg settings for hi iso
Years Owned: 0.1    Ergonomics: 9    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 9    New or Used: New   

I have had a K5 classic for several years. I was tempted by the K5 IIs but ultimately waited for the K3 to reach a price point I was happy with.

The Pentax K3 is a fantastic camera.

The negatives are limited to:
- having to workout the best hi iso jpg settings after having the K5 for so long;
- the small increase in weight versus the K5. Its only 60gms but you notice it;
- movie recording (but I don't use it anyway);
- reduced dynamic range at 100 iso. The K5 at iso 80 is over 14ev that even most full frames cannot compete with so its tough competition);
- its lost the monochrome digital filter that I really liked using.

The positives are many and quite important in everyday use:
- a lot faster focussing in general terms;
- a lot faster focussing in tungsten or low light conditions;
- useful extra focus points for portrait shooting;
- a lot faster saving to memory cards (compared to the pedestrian K5);
- it makes all your lenses better due to the improved AF (my DA17-70 is actually a very good lens now, even at 70mm that everyone complains about);
- extra megapixels for cropping or even massive prints is useful. The cropping ability is more useful for me though;
- live view focussing is a lot faster;
- addition of focus peaking (compared to K5);
- increase in size of optical viewfinder (you don't notice the size increase so much but its brightness is definitely an improvement over the K5);
- general image quality is very good once you've figured the camera out (again after having the K7 and then K5 for so long you do have to go through a small learning process);
- I have even used the outside focus points in tungsten lighting and it worked. Happy about that as never worked eith K5 classic.

Overall, its the speed improvement of the K3 combined with still great ergonomics and image quality that make the K3 so great. Collectively it makes for a satisfying and worthy upgrade to the K5 classic.

If I had the K5 II it would be a harder sell as the AF in the K5 II is actually pretty good and of course the image quality of the previous generation 16MP sensor was nothing short of superb.

However, versus all other Pentax camera's and all other brand APS-C camera's the Pentax K3 is equal if not better than perhaps only the Canon 7D MK II. Note: I write off the Nikon D7100 due to its pathetic raw buffer.

As to any future improvements in a Pentax APS-C camera. Well these would be limited to:
- Including native wi-fi support;
- any AF improvements (although the current lenses I believe are a bigger road block);
- increasing the spread of the AF point area so that it covers a wider area;
- movies (although I would rarely use it for this).

The most fundamental improvement for me would be increasing the spread of the AF points.

You can see from my viewpoint it going to be very difficult for me to ever want to replace the K3 except for a full frame camera. The K3 is that good!
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: North Face of Mount Shasta
Posts: 107
Review Date: September 9, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Considering I'm coming from a K20d, about everything.
Cons: Not much yet, I'm not a big video shooter so the one area that the reviews consistently refer to with reservation (i.e. lack of video sophistication and somewhat sluggish live view) is of little concern to me.

I started out with the K1000, then the ME Super and istDS. I then purchased my ever reliable K20d. At 192,000 clicks, inconsistency in auto focus became her new middle name . She has been a long time companion and friend, one that was going to be difficult to replace. But it was time to look for that replacement.

I was originally looking to find a used K5 IIs ... by all reports, an excellent camera and the prices were outrageously good. During my search, I happened upon a Silver edition K3 with grip and FluCard ... after some very friendly negotiation ... I was able to secure it for a wonderful price. I couldn't pass it up, and I'm so very glad I didn't.

This camera is such a pleasure to use and the results are spectacular. Response from your ever input seems instantaneous. The auto focus is deadly fast and accurate. It has brought new life to all my lenses. My sigmas with HSM are more consistent and all of my Pentax screw drives are so fast now it's a little scary. Instead of the normal grinding sound you are used to hearing, they now have this increased speed high pitched whine. It's no more pleasant than the old sound, but it is quicker and more precise.

Image quality is what it's all about and the K3 doesn't disappoint. The sharpness out of the camera is wonderful, the colors seem very natural and realistically saturated. Resolution is just short of astounding and the noise levels may not aqppear as low as the k5 series, but it should give you enormous resolution with state of the art level noise levels. The K3 produces images that just have "the" look ... the one that Pentax has built it's reputation on.

I haven't found the learning curve all that difficult to pick up and most every control feels to be where it should be. It's comfortable and intuitive to use. The LCD screen is simply beautifully and much easier to use in bright light.

There is now doubt that this camera will be a proud successor to the role of Flagship for Pentax. I just can't wait to develop the same relationship with the K3 that I had with my K20d .... one of comfort, trust and extension of myself. If you are already invested in Pentax ... this will be a camera that is very hard to pass up.

cheers ...
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 1,367

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 28, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great to use
Cons: Bit heavy to lug around
Years Owned: 3 months    Ergonomics: 10    Build Quality: 10    User Interface: 10    Autofocus: 9    Features: 10    Value: 10    Image Quality: 10    Noise: 10    New or Used: New   

So many nice, thoughtful features that you discover over time - it really is a camera designed by people who use a camera every day. I rated Autofocus 9, but only because the manual doesn't explain all the modes properly, so I'm still working it out. I haven't missed any shots, though... The weight is a pain when it's in a bag, when held in the hands, it's perfect.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Posts: 5,245

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 25, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax K-3: Yes | Price: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ergonomics! and all the rest you have already heard about
Cons: It doesn't natively export 4k video by built in WiFi
New or Used: New   

Come on. This camera rates worse than the K-5 II? For real??
Pants down, it is a better camera than my K-5 IIs in essentially every respect. Anyone who can't get better low light shots from the K-3 isn't trying.
jackassp, you can have my K-5 IIs any day if you want to swap it for your K-3.
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