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11-27-2021, 03:54 AM - 22 Likes   #1
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Pentax Meeting on Nov 27: K-3 III evolution (firmware and model variants)

I attended the Pentax Meeting today. It was a fan event to celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the brand. I just have time to write a post about a part of it right now, so I’ll focus on the part about the evolution of the K-3.

This actually consisted of two elements - firmware and ideas for future variants.

New firmware coming on December 7 (also for K-1 and K-1 II)
They have developed a new custom image profile called “satobi”. This was created partly to cater to the tastes of users overseas. They said the way it was developed was a little different from previous profiles. It’s a nostalgic image quality from the 60s-70s. It looks really nice. Made by looking at old images from overseas photographers and trying to replicates some of the more muted colors characteristic of pictures from the 60s and 70s. Then a couple of pro photographers came on to present some images shot with this profile. I know there are a lot of raw users who aren’t interested in the JPEG profiles, but this one is really nice and natural looking. I think a lot of people will appreciate it.

New firmware coming spring 2022 - Add Astrotracer to K-3 Mark III (not K-1 or K-1 II this time)
(Note: This was difficult to understand, but I’m 80% sure this is what he said) The K-3 III developer described Shigeru Wakashiro explained that the problem with Astrotracer is having to do the calibration each time. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use Astrotracer without doing that? Well it seems that they have figured out a way to do Astrotracer not only without calibration, but also without the need for GPS at all. This prompted a lot of wows from the participants, but it seems that the firmware update will just add Astrotracer without any need for extra hardware. There was not actual details of how this will work. It seems that test firmware will be released much sooner than that, but I’m afraid I couldn’t understand whether that meant anyone would be able t download it and try it out. Incidentally, they confirmed that this would not be coming t any other existing models, and also that the OGPS-2 accessory is still in the pipeline for next year.

Future K-3 III variants
This was unusual. Wakashiro-san described six ideas for variants on the K-3 III and wanted to get feedback on them.
1. K-3 III Jet black - All black, almost like one of those computers keyboards with no markings at all
2. K-3 Shutter change model - A variant with a different feel to the shutter release
3. K-3 III Monochrome - No bayer filter model
4. K-3 III MF - Manual focus model, no AF sensor, 30% brighter VF, AF still possible in live view
5. K-3 III Gun metal - Basically like the K-3 prestige editions, with customizable markings on the prism, such as the AOCO mark
6. K-3 III Astro - Sensor filter changed to enable better astro photography (like other brands do)
They had a poll of attendees to see idea which sounds most attractive, and the two winners were the monochrome and the jet black model. But most ideas had their supporters. Some of them might be available as upgrades/mods for existing users (1, 2, 5). It’s also possible that they might use Kickstarter to gauge interest (note that Pentax did that successfully with a novel pair of binoculars before).

So this was the content of the event as far as the K-3 III is concerned. I’ll post separately about what they said about other APS-C models, lenses and the future of the K-1, but don’t expect anything too specific, because nothing was announced, shown or added to the roadmap.


Last edited by JPT; 11-27-2021 at 04:00 AM.
11-27-2021, 04:02 AM - 1 Like   #2
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thanks JPT for this report. The 4th variant option of the K-3 III seems interesting: K-3 III MF - Manual focus model, no AF sensor, 30% brighter VF, AF still possible in live view.
11-27-2021, 04:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the report JPT !
11-27-2021, 04:32 AM   #4
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Thanks for this report. I wonder what focus support will they put on mirror.

11-27-2021, 04:33 AM   #5
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More niche. That MF model is interesting....
11-27-2021, 04:50 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Thank you, and waiting for the other part.

So far there isn't anything ground breaking, not that I expected something like that. But, they have ideas, and will put some of them in practice.

The Astrotracer without GPS... I see two possibilities:
- it works "without the GPS module", but with the smartphone link
- it works without any GPS data at all, by watching the movements of stars (which is typically done in astrophotography)
Both variants would be interesting, together with the option 6, for those of us doing astrophoto.
11-27-2021, 05:09 AM   #7
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Thanks for the report, glad to see that they found a way to add astrotracer without the need of the GPS 👍 !!

For the 6 variants, the astro version is very interesting, looks like they pay attention to astro these days 🙂 . But if they want to be "the" astro brand there's a bit of work on the lenses as the Samyang 14 f/2.4 & 24 f/1.8 are not available in Pentax mount. I just bought the Laowa 12, coma looks ok at f/4 or more, it's not bad but not good either (and the flare resistance is awful...). The Samyang 14 f/2.8 is likely better for astro but its distortion made me choose the Laowa.

I have yet to see a report on the 21 ltd's coma performances, but I don't think it was design with this in mind.

11-27-2021, 05:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
Future K-3 III variants
This was unusual. Wakashiro-san described six ideas for variants on the K-3 III and wanted to get feedback on them.
1. K-3 III Jet black - All black, almost like one of those computers keyboards with no markings at all
2. K-3 Shutter change model - A variant with a different feel to the shutter release
3. K-3 III Monochrome - No bayer filter model
4. K-3 III MF - Manual focus model, no AF sensor, 30% brighter VF, AF still possible in live view
5. K-3 III Gun metal - Basically like the K-3 prestige editions, with customizable markings on the prism, such as the AOCO mark
6. K-3 III Astro - Sensor filter changed to enable better astro photography (like other brands do)
They had a poll of attendees to see idea which sounds most attractive, and the two winners were the monochrome and the jet black model. But most ideas had their supporters. Some of them might be available as upgrades/mods for existing users (1, 2, 5). It’s also possible that they might use Kickstarter to gauge interest (note that Pentax did that successfully with a novel pair of binoculars before).

Upgrades for existing models? Does that mean that they replace the body panels on your camera? Sounds expensive...
Different feel to the shutter release seems odd; the current release is excellent.

---------- Post added 11-27-21 at 01:12 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
So this was the content of the event as far as the K-3 III is concerned. I’ll post separately about what they said about other APS-C models, lenses and the future of the K-1, but don’t expect anything too specific, because nothing was announced, shown or added to the roadmap.
Hurry up. We are getting impatient....
11-27-2021, 05:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
Different feel to the shutter release seems odd; the current release is excellent.
I agree, but it seems not everyone does.
11-27-2021, 05:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
I attended the Pentax Meeting today. It was a fan event to celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the brand. I just have time to write a post about a part of it right now, so I’ll focus on the part about the evolution of the K-3
Thanks a lot for the report!
11-27-2021, 05:40 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Nothing about the 645Z . . . bummer
11-27-2021, 06:41 AM   #12
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Very intriguing! Thanks for these great reports.
11-27-2021, 07:05 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Here is another report. Since it's from a Japanese person, they have understood the part about Astrotracer better than me.

You'll have to use your online translation of choice.
https://digicame-info.com/2021/11/k-3-mark-iii-2.html
11-27-2021, 07:20 AM   #14
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So it shoots a preliminary image and computes the movement from it.
11-27-2021, 07:32 AM   #15
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Do you have any idea what they mean by "valve shooting" as translated by Google?
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