Pentax K-3 Review

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Review posted 03/03/2014

Quick Take
Pros
  • "Green" shooting mode is accurate and easy in all situations
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Full 1080p HD video capture with tons of control
  • HDMI output and audio input add to the video capabilities of the camera
  • Weather -sealed body protects the camera when shooting in the elements
  • Excellent image quality at Low-Mid ISO settings
  • Built-in image stabilization works with ALL lenses attached to the camera
  • Large, adjustable 3.2-inch LCD screen
  • Great shooting performance in our tests
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Dual memory card slots offer more recording options
  • Adjustable locking mode dial
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Although performance was very good, it did not live up to expectations
  • High ISO images are incredibly noisy
  • Face Detection only works in "Green" mode with Live View enabled
Bottom Line
Pentax has introduced an excellent dSLR into the mid-level range. Its APS-C sized 24-Megapixel CMOS sensor, built-in SR stabilization, 1080p HD video and fantastic performance and quality make it a true challenger in this market. The weather sealed construction is another nice feature for anyone that shoots in the elements. Read more in our Full Conclusion
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In the fall of 2013, Ricoh Imaging announced the new PENTAX K-3 DSLR. Designed with "advanced enthusiasts" in mind, the K-3 boasts a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, the ability to continuously shoot at 8.3 frames-per-second, Full HD 1080p Video Recording, a proprietary anti-aliasing filter (which can be turned off and on), a built-in Shake Reduction mechanism, and dual memory card slots compatible with PENTAX FLU SDHC memory cards for wireless connectivity to PCs or other devices connected via a web browser. This allows owners to not only backup their photographs, but also access a live-view of images you're about to capture.

Other nice K-3 features include a weather-resistant body, headphone and external stereo microphone terminals four sound recording and monitoring sound levels, a variety of Creative Special Effects Modes including High Dynamic Range mode, and an upgraded Interval Movie Mode, which allows users to capture 4K-resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) time-lapse movie clips.

If that weren't enough goodies and high performance specifications, PENTAX is also tossing in a newly designed 27-sensor autofocus module, the SAFOX11, as well as the new Real-Time Scene Analysis System, which uses the 86,000 RGB light-metering sensor to accurate handle exposure, white balance, and auto-focus.

PENTAX K-3 Features:
  • Dustproof
  • Weather-resistant
  • Cold-resistant down to -10°C 
  • 24-megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor (23.5mm×15.6mm)
  • PRIME III imaging engine
  • 3.2-inch LCD (1,037,000 dots)
  • Full HD H.264 Video Recording
    • 1920x1080, 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p
    • 1280x720, 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p)
  • 4K (3840 x 2160) Interval Movie Mode
  • Stereo Microphone Terminal with manual level adjustments
  • Headphone Terminal
  • SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism
  • ISO 100-51200
  • Anti-Aliasing Simulator
  • 8.3 frames-per-second continuous shooting
    • Up to 22 frames in RAW
    • Up to 60 frames in JPEG
  • Newly designed SAFOX 11 AF module with 27 auto focus points
  • Real-Time Scene Analysis System
  • Dual SD memory card slots
  • DRII (Dust Removal II) Mechanism
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Shooting Mode
  • Mode dial with a choice of lock mechanism engagement (ON or OFF)
  • Redesigned, resized grip
  • Compatibile with Eye-Fi wireless LAN memory cards
  • Compatible with USB3.0-standard interface accessories
  • Compatible with HDMI (type D) 
  • Digital Camera Utility 5 software included
  • Durable shutter unit tested to 200,000 shutter releases
  • Optional Accessories
    • D-BG5 Battery Grip
    • O-FC1 FLU CARD FOR PENTAX 16GB 
    • O-ST1401 Camera Strap

The PENTAX K-3 is available in two color choices -- Black or Premium Silver. 

The standard black model has a $1,299.95 body-only MSRP. Or you can pick up the kit, which includes the DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR zoom lens, for $1,699.95. The Premium Silver Edition is a limited edition model -- they are only making 2,000 -- and includes an exclusive leather strap and the silver D-BG5 battery grip; this silver body + strap + battery grip edition will MSRP for $1,599.95 and be available only through www.us.ricoh-imaging.com.

The optional PENTAX FLU SDHC 16GB memory cards and D-BG5 battery grips will have MSRPs of $99.95 and $229.95, respectively.

What's in the box?:
  • K-3 camera body
  • Li-Ion Battery D-LI90
  • Battery Charger Kit K-BC90
  • Strap O-ST132
  • Hotshoe Cover FK
  • Eyecup FS
  • Body Mount Cover
  • Finder Cap ME
  • Focusing Screen MF-60 Frame Matte
  • PC Socket Cap
  • Software CD-ROM S-SW140




Additional Product Views
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Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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