Pentax K-3 Review

Review posted 03/03/2014

Quick Take
  • "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
  • 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
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-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

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

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.