Pentax K-3 Review
Just as we did in our Nikon D800E vs. Pentax 645D review, we subjected the K-3 and K-5 IIs to a studio test to confirm our findings from the field. Below is a photo of the studio test scene:
The same 21mm lens and camera position was used for both the K-3 and K-5 IIs. Curious about the D610 box in the photo? Well, let's just say that we also spent some time comparing it to the K-3 (those findings will be posted at a later date).
All of the test photos shown on this page are available for download here in both JPEG and RAW format.
The staple on the far right of our test scene proved to be a great subject for illustrating the K-3's ability to capture more detail than its 16-megapixel predecessor. The table below shows 100% crops of JPEGs with noise reduction turned off.
Pentax K-5 IIs
Notice how at ISO 100, the individual staples are visible in the photo from the K-3. This level of added detail isn't quite present in the high-ISO versions of the photo.
Although all of the test shots on this page were taken with a manual white balance setting, we did test the K-3's AWB and found it to only be off by a couple hundred degrees from the measured optimum.
One of our observations when using the K-3 is that there wasn't a noticeable difference between JPEGs with noise reduction off and noise reduction set to auto. As unprocessed RAW files contain much more noise than either type of JPEG, we can conclude that the K-3's image engine automatically applies a generous amount of denoising to its files, removing much chroma and luminance noise even with noise reduction turned off.
This makes things easier for the end user, though it also takes away the flexibility of processing noisy JPEGs on one's own.
K-3 vs K-5 IIs Comparison
In the tables below, we offer 100% crops of our test scene for the purpose of comparing the K-3's detail and high-ISO performance to that of the K-5 IIs. Click on any thumbnail to enlarge. We processed our RAW files subjectively to reach a good balance of detail retention and noise reduction.
Site 1: K-3 vs K-5 IIs (JPEG)
Site 1: K-3 vs K-5 IIs (RAW)
Site 2: K-3 vs K-5 IIs (JPEG)
Site 2: K-3 vs K-5 IIs (RAW)
Site 3: K-3 vs K-5 IIs (JPEG)
Site 3: K-3 vs K-5 IIs (RAW)
Continue on to the next page for our verdict on the Pentax K-3's image quality!