Jul 17, 2023

Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome Review


The Pentax K-3 III, released in 2021, was the first significant upgrade to the K-3 line in several years, the K-3 II being an iterative upgrade removing the flash and including a built-in GPS. The K-3 III sparked a lot of interest, both among Pentax fans and outside the usual userbase since Pentax is now the sole camera manufacturer offering new DSLR models.

With the release of the K-3 III, Pentax also launched a few initiatives to connect more directly with its customer base. Surveys to explore what users would be most interested in revealed that a large number of users were interested in a "Jet Black" version of the K-3 III, where all markings and labels are engraved and painted black. Pentax did release a limited edition Jet Black K-3 III in 2022. Second on the list of desired variants was a monochrome version of the K-3 III, and in Spring 2023 Pentax released just that.

As its name suggests, the K-3 III Monochrome can only capture grayscale ("black-and-white") photos, and it is optimized for this purpose.  More on that later.

Regular Pentax K-3 III and K-3 III Monochrome side-by-side

The K-3 III Monochrome took the photography world by storm. Until then, the only purely monochrome camera on the market was the Leica M10 (and its Leica M11 successor). The Leica costs close to $10,000 (not counting the hefty lens prices) and is a rangefinder, something not everyone desires. As such, the K-3 III Monochrome positions itself uniquely in the current camera market.

Pure monochrome cameras are certainly not for everybody, but they come with the benefit of (theoretically) improved sharpness and, of course, unique outputs. Ricoh's GR line is already well-known for its numerous and excellent built-in B&W "atmospheres", so the world of black-and-white is not new to Ricoh-Pentax.

In this review, we take a deep dive into the features and capabilities of the Pentax K-3 III Monochrome. If you're coming from another brand, welcome! The section "Why a Monochrome Camera?" will give you a useful starting point.

Read on to learn more about this fascinating camera!

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